A Surprise Visit from Three Surf Scoters

March 30, 2018

One of three surf scoters currently visiting Lion’s Lake in Washingtion, Missouri during its migration to its summer home in Alaska or Northern Canada.

I spent the morning at Lions Lake in Washington, Missouri, trying to get a shot of one or more of the three surf scoters that have been there for a few days. The trio, which was reported on eBird, is quickly attracting a lot of attention from the birding world, at least locally.

The surf scoter is about as rare of a waterfowl that we would ever see at Lions Lake, which has also featured the likes of long-tailed ducks in the past, so I had to give it a try. Lions Lake is so manicured, I was surprised to find a nice spot to set up a well-concealed hide about an hour before daylight. I situated my turkey chair in a cut-out along the bank, making me invisible to birds on the lake as well as people along the bank and jogging trail above.

At sunrise, I was so well hidden that just about every species of waterfowl in the lake swam within 20 feet of me, except the surf scoters, of course. The scoters stayed to my right between me and the sun for almost three hours before they finally ventured to the other side of me for a decent image. Unfortunately, by that time these rare visitors, which typically only winter along our coastlines, had attracted so many bird lovers to the lakeside, they kept their distance out toward the middle. No worries though as it was a wonderful treat just to sit and watch these extraordinary sea ducks enjoying some time in our backyard before heading to their summer home in Alaska and the surrounding region.

I spent most of the morning watching our three visitors rest up for their journey north.

If these wayfaring waterfowl stick around for awhile, Washington will become a premiere destination for birders in this part of the country.

Thanks for looking,


Email me at:  Natureframes@Rocketmail.Com

Gallery of Images/Print Information:  https://dannybrown.smugmug.com

“America is beautiful. I vote to keep it that way.”

6 comments on “A Surprise Visit from Three Surf Scoters”

  1. If only I was off today, love this image and the write-up.

  2. I’ve been following the Scoter info on the mobirds group, so thank you for these images!

  3. My wife, Anne, shared your e-mail with me and we were both so excited about the Surf Scoters, we went to Washington today to see them. The overcast/drizzle was not ideal, but we did see them along with all the other ducks and geese around the lake. We talked with Miguel who said he was friend of yours. Of course, we stopped by the wetlands at Shaw Nature Preserve (getting to be one of our favorite places) on our way back to St. Louis. Wonderful day. Thank you for the wonderful info and marvelous photos.

    Paul Brackens

    • You are welcome, and I’m glad you got out to see them for yourself and enjoy a nice outing.

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