Saturday, January 22, 2011

White-winged Scoter

My latest lifer #1,028 and #140 for my Beppu list, the White-winged Scoter (Melanitta deglandi) was found at Sekino-E on January 15th by Furuso-san. Three days later, I went to twitch and successfully found it feeding along with a small group of Red-breasted Mergansers far away in the sea. At first, we thought that the bird was a female but after looking at the photos I took, I realised that it was actually a first-winter male. Female bird should have completely dark bill, unlike this individual which has faint pinkish band near the tip of its bill. I easily spotted the bird as I arrived at the place, as the bird flew passed in front of me showing its white wing patches clearly. Too bad it landed much too far away from the shore.

1st-winter White-winged Scoter (Melanitta deglandi)

Looking up in the internet, I just knew that the subspecies found in Japan, M.d.stejnegeri, is also sometimes recognised as a full species, Asian White-winged Scoter or Stejneger's Scoter (Melanitta stejnegeri). I have very little knowledge about how to distinguish each subspecies though. Even identifying it from the European Velvet Scoter (Melanitta fusca) is already difficult. This individual found at Sekino-E was quite active in feeding. It constantly dived down for food in every 1 minute. After feeding for a long while, it took a nap for about 10 minutes, then started feeding again.
It's already practiced the courtship display!

A brief moment of sunlight revealed the bird's actual brown plumage.

There were 2 non-breeding Kentish Plovers (Charadrius alexandrinus) feeding along the beach as well. I couldn't find the male bird I saw earlier in December. May be it has already moved to the other area. These plovers are just so difficult to approach. They always fly away too soon before I can get into a good range. If it had the size of a pheasant, I wouldn't be as troubled as this. If I could have a 800mm lens, there would be no trouble as well lol.

Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)

4 comments:

Stu said...

Wonderful bird, what a nice find.........

Yeah I want to have a 800mm lens too. Unfortunately I'd have to turn to a life of crime to be able to afford one................

Hmmmmmmm................now what foolproof crimes can I come up with?

Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok said...

Thanks Stu!
I thought the scoter's a common species up there...

And yeah we're all daydreaming about the 800mm lol

Stu said...

Actually it is not so common down near Hakodate, I've only seen a few in south Hokkaido.

Lots in north/east Hokkaido though, I'm a bit surprised you didn't see any last winter when you came up here...............

Phil said...

It may have been distant but those pictures of the scoter are very sharp. Nice lifer for you!