22-B-2017-2 White-winged Scoter

STATUS
Pending
HOW MANY OBSERVED?
1 male that appeared to be going into his first summer (the summer after hatching).
DATE SIGHTING OCCURRED
DATE REPORT PREPARED
REPORTER
Austin Young
LOCALITY OF OBSERVATION
Island Park Reservoir Dam (right above the dam) in Fremont County. Specifically at: 44.419519, -111.395564
HABITAT WHERE THE BIRD WAS OBSERVED
Deep, open water surrounded by willows, conifers, and a dam.
SIGHTING DURATION, CONDITIONS, and EQUIPMENT USED
It was warm, mostly sunny, with a slight breeze. I observed the bird with Vortex 10x42 binoculars at 100 meters.
DID YOU TAKE NOTES?
Yes, another day after the observation
DID YOU CONSULT A FIELD GUIDE OR OTHER REFERENCE WORK?
Yes, later the same day
WHICH GUIDE(S) OR REFERENCE(S): DID YOU CONSULT?
The Sibley Guide to North America Iphone app.
DESCRIPTION OF THE BIRD(s)
The bird was a large, black-colored duck with a tiny bit of white in the face, it had a distinctly orange bill with black base, a pale gray eye, and white secondaries.
BEHAVIOR OF THE BIRD(s)
I first observed the bird about 50 meters from the road that goes along the top of the dam. It was very close to the willows with head up, I thought somewhat strange that it was almost in the willows. As I stopped to look at it, it got wary and began to slowly swim away from the dam and to the deeper water. It appeared to be alone and not associating with other birds.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE BIRD, AND WHAT CLINCHED THE IDENTIFICATION FOR YOU?
Upon initially seeing the bird, I immediately noticed the large black body and the bright orange bill with dark base. With binoculars I could readily see the white secondaries, briefly but good look there, the tiny patches of white on the face (suggesting a young male), and confirm the orange bill with dark base.
HOW DID YOU ELIMINATE SIMILAR SPECIES? WHAT WERE THEY?
The most similar species would be Surf Scoter because of the orange bill. That was eliminated by the white secondaries, the lack of white on the forehead and nape and bill, and the shape of the bill.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS (AND SIMILAR) SPECIES?
My experience with this species is limited but thorough. I have observed several individual males, each at differing ages.
DESCRIBE YOUR GENERAL BIRDING EXPERIENCE
Very extensive, I have been seriously birding for about 10 years, all in the Intermountain West and Pacific Northwest.
WERE PHOTO(S), VIDEO, AND/OR AUDIO OBTAINED FROM THIS SIGHTING?
Photo
SUPPORTING IMAGES