The bird looks like a Lesser Scaup to me. the forehead is pretty steep, Greater Scaup usually has a sloped forehead that angles smoothly into the bill, kind of like a ski slope. And the head is relatively narrow. Even though the back of the head seems rounded at the top, the overall appearance is pretty flat. The bill also seems a little short to me for Greater.
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My two-cents worth.
Citrus Heights, CA
--- In central_valley_birds@..., "bees2@..." wrote:
At 9:20 a.m., I was watching two river otters in a slough that backs up from the Stanislaus River. Then I saw a scaup sitting so still in the water that at first I thought it was a stray decoy. This scaup had a fairly wide bill with a thick black "nail" at its tip. The glossy sheen on the head was purple, but the back of the head was rounded, unlike that of a Lesser Scaup. I didn't want to flush the bird to check for the amount of white at the trailing edge of the wings.
My camcorder froze up on me on Sunday, so unfortunately all I could manage to get were some distant photos with my old Canon camera. I cannot post photos directly to CVBirds, but if anyone wants to try and determine the scaup's species,here's the link to SAS Smug Mug:
I suppose I can send these by direct email, too.
To look for this bird, walk from the last parking lot along River Bend Trail for a few hundred yards. There is an overlook with two wooden benches and one new concrete bench. The scaup was drifting about just below the overlook. This location is definitely in San Joaquin County.
Sal Salerno, Modesto