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Yesterday at Brattleboro Retreat Meadows a nice little flock of 2 male
lesser scaup and 1 male greater. A nice side-by-side comparison. I was
interested to see Ruth Stewarts posting a couple of days ago about
problems with separating these species. I think that the separation of
lesser and greaters is an underestimated problem. The main area of
difficulty is that at most ranges and light conditions the best field
character is the shape of the head and lesser have the annoying trick of
changing their head shape depending on their activity. Yesterday it was
interesting to watch the diving lessers: just before they dove and for a
half minute or so after they resurfaced they flattened their crowns and
looked to all intents and purposes just like the greater. As time passed
after they resurfaced they gradually raised the feathers at the back of
the crown and morphed into lessers. At no time did the greater have a
lesser head shape, so the main pitfall is not misidentifying lessers as
greaters.

Also at the Retreat Meadows - a pied-billed grebe. Its been hanging out
there for about a week now.

Hector Galbraith PhD
Galbraith Environmental Sciences LLC
837 Camp Arden Rd., Dummerston, VT05301
802 365 9119 (phone)