Drake Lesser Scaup in early March – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
On the 5th of March I was at the local pond in the afternoon and the regular birds were there, lots of Canada Geese, Mallards, American Coots and one or two Pied-billed Grebes. Way out I spotted a pair of Ring-necked Ducks but I figured they wouldn’t come close enough to photograph because they seem so skittish at this pond. Nothing much was going on, the geese weren’t flying in and out and I thought I was wasting time until another duck that was cruising slowly towards the shore caught my eye, at first my brain said “Ring-necked” then I looked closer and saw that it was a drake Lesser Scaup.
Diving drake Lesser Scaup – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
In all the time I have spent at the local pond I believe this is the first Lesser Scaup I have found there so you just know I had to take photos of it as it swam closer and closer to where I was!
Lesser Scaup are fairly common diving ducks but I don’t see them all that often here in northern Utah at the locations where I most often photograph birds. The population of Lesser Scaup is in a slow but steady decline of 1.8% per year, between 1996 and 2015 that is a cumulative decline of 59%. I am aware that biologists are studying Lesser Scaup at Red Rock Lakes NWR because of their declining numbers.
Lesser Scaup drake floating on a pond – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
The drake Lesser Scaup did come in close enough to be able to take a few images of it where it almost filled the frame before a man and his dog walked by and caused the scaup to make a hasty retreat to the middle of the pond. Even though I only photographed the Lesser Scaup for a few minutes finding and photographing this drake was one of the top highlights of my day.
Life is good.