White-winged Scoter at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on March 10, 2017

A brief birding stop this morning at Lakeshore State Park provided nice views of a White-winged Scoter. The female duck was hanging out with Greater Scaup and feeding on mussels in the lagoon. I took a few shots from a distance. As usual with hundreds of duck eyes watching you, they tend to stay away from the shore when you are around. It was a nice way to start the day out birding. Very cold out this morning with full sun but the wind made it feel like January. Images were taken on March 10, 2017.

White-winged Scoter, female with a mussel in the mouth

White-winged Scoter, female with a mussel in the mouth

White-winged Scoter

Binomial name: Melanitta fusca

Category: Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Size: 21” long, 34” wing span

Weight: 3.7 lb

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A stretch!

A stretch!

A stretch!

A stretch!

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With a mussel

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Just cruising along

White-winged Scoters at the Milwaukee River Mouth on the Milwaukee Lakefront on February 24, 2015

I birded a couple of hours today on the Milwaukee lakefront and it provided some nice views of White-winded Scoters. This location was at the Milwaukee River mouth near the lighthouse. There appeared to be 9 scoters present while I was there. One beautiful adult was present along with some females and 1st winters. All of the ducks present appeared to be diving for mussels and resting in between. Also present were many Greater Scaups and Common Goldeneyes, Common and Red-breasted Mergansers and a female Redhead. South Shore Yacht Club was froze up with only a couple of gulls and geese. I did not hang around long with the stiff northwest winds and cold temps, but nice to get out with some sun. I also had the opportunity to meet some birders today, seems like everyone is anxious for more spring like weather, it is less than a month away! If I have something labeled incorrect please let me know, thank you. Images were taken on February 24, 2015.

White-winged Scoter, male adult

White-winged Scoter, male adult

White-winged Scoter

Binomial name: Melanitta fusca

Category: Ducks, Geese, and Swans

Size: 21” long, 34” wing span

Weight: 3.7 lb

White-winged Scoter, male adult

White-winged Scoter, male adult

White-winged Scoter, male adult, just before the dive!

White-winged Scoter, male adult, head up, just before the dive!

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White-winged Scoter, male adult taking a dive for a mussel.

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White-winged Scoter, male adult taking a dive for a mussel.

White-winged Scoter, male adult taking a dive for a mussel.

White-winged Scoter, male adult taking a dive for a mussel.

White-winged Scoter, male adult with a mussel.

White-winged Scoter, male adult with a mussel.

White-winged Scoter, male adult with a mussel.

White-winged Scoter, male adult with a mussel.

White-winged Scoter, male adult with a mussel.

White-winged Scoter, male adult with a mussel just before swallowing it.

White-winged Scoter, male, adult with a Greater Scaup male in pursuit of the mussel

White-winged Scoter, male, adult with a Greater Scaup male in pursuit of the mussel

White-winged Scoter, male adult shaking it off!

White-winged Scoter, male adult shaking it off!

White-winged Scoter, male adult

White-winged Scoter, male adult

White-winged Scoter, male adult back, White-winged Scoter, adult female front

White-winged Scoter, male, adult back, White-winged Scoter, male, 1st winter front

White-winged Scoter, male

White-winged Scoter, male, 1st winter

White-winged Scoter, male, 1st winter going for the mussel

White-winged Scoter, male, 1st winter going for the mussel

White-winged Scoter, male, 1st winter going for the mussel

White-winged Scoter, male, 1st winter going for the mussel

White-winged Scoter, male, 1st winter going for the mussel

White-winged Scoter, male, 1st winter going for the mussel

White-winged Scoter, male, 1st winter

White-winged Scoter, male, 1st winter

White-winged Scoter, male, 1st winter

White-winged Scoter, male, 1st winter

White-winged Scoter, male,

White-winged Scoter, female, adult

White-winged Scoter, male, 1st winter going for the mussel

White-winged Scoter female adult left, White-winged Scoter, male, 1st winter right

White-winged Scoter, male, adult just resting

White-winged Scoter, male, adult just resting

White-winged Scoter, male, 1st winter going for the mussel

White-winged Scoter, male, 1st winter just resting

White-winged Scoter, male, 1st winter just resting

White-winged Scoter, male, 1st winter just resting

White-winged Scoter, male, 1st winter looking at you!

White-winged Scoter, male, 1st winter looking at you!

White-winged Scoter, male, adult just resting

White-winged Scoter, male, adult just resting

Red-throated Loons Milwaukee River Mouth, Milwaukee Lakefront, February 23, 2014

The area of the mouth of the Milwaukee River on the Milwaukee Lakefront produced 3 Red-throated Loons. Some of the other species present and photographed were White-winged Scoters, Common Goldeneyes, Red-breasted Mergansers, and Greater Scaups.

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Red-throated Loon

Red-throated Loon

Binomial name: Gavia stellata

Category: Loons

Description: Dark gray feathers with a white throat and underparts, small black and white strips on the back of its neck.  In breeding season, the throat turns red, thus the name.  Small bill which fluctuates between black and dark gray.

Size: 21” – 27” long, 36” – 47” wingspan

Weight: 2.2 lbs. – 6.0 lbs.

Habitat: Large lakes, coastal shorelines, inland rivers, and reservoirs.

Diet: Primarily fish, occasionally crustaceans, frogs, and aquatic invertebrates, rarely plants

Nesting: Both parents build the nest out of a mudscrape lined with plant material and some feathers.  The male will stand guard while the female incubates the eggs (2 eggs per clutch).  Both parents feed and raise the young and participate in distraction displays to lure predators away from the nest.  Mating pairs will breed for life.

Notes: Unlike other loon species which must take flight by running on the surface of water, the Red-throated Loon can fly directly from land or water.  It also does not carry its young on its back.

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Red-throated Loon

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Red-throated Loon

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Red-throated Loon

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Red-throated Loon

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Red-throated Loon

White-winged Scoter

White-winged Scoter

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Female Common Goldeneye

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Male Common Goldeneye

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Male Red-breasted Merganser

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Female Red-breasted Merganser

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Male Greater Scaup

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Male Greater Scaup