Yesterday afternoon I saw a couple of drake Lesser Scaup ducks here on the little farm pond. These are the first Lesser Scaups I have seen on the pond. These are migrant visitors but are not uncommon in Tennessee in the Winter months. Lesser Scaup drakes have a black head that has a greenish iridescence, black neck, chest and tail, white sides and a light grey back. The hens are a medium brown color with a slightly darker brown head.
Lesser Scaups are diving ducks that mostly eat aquatic snails, small crayfish, and aquatic insects. They are common on ponds, slower rivers, and lakes. The drakes are easily confused with the much less commonly seen Greater Scaup (greenish tinge to the black head). The drakes are also faintly similar to the drake Ring-Necked duck (white band near the end of the bill and the white on the shoulders and back of the neck). I am very happy to have seen these handsome ducks and took their picture on Feb. 20, 2012 in my yard. By the way, although we had a bit of snow two days ago, the snow had melted and yesterday was a sunny warmer day! Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!