Tufted Duck in Providence
On Saturday, after having lunch at Whole Foods we ventured to a few spots along the Seekonk River in Providence to see if I could have any luck looking for a female Tufted Duck that had been reported among a flock of scaup. I was happy to find a birder already set up with a scope. Upon talking to him, I discovered he had seen the Tufted Duck between the pilings under the Henderson Bridge, where he now had his scope pointed. The duck was diving on and off between the scaup so was hard to keep track of. He managed to get it in the scope for me to see and I had a pretty good view of the very small white patch at the base of the bill (as opposed to a sizable patch on a female scaup) and a very slight tuft on the peak of the head before it dove again. I was lucky with my timing as the flock soon retreated back behind the pilings and out of view. All three merganser species were present along with Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, American Black Ducks, Canada Geese, and some Mute Swans. We drove to a couple more spots in the hopes of seeing the Barrow's Goldeneye (still my nemesis bird for the year) but no luck even though the other birder had seen it near the Tufted Duck before I arrived. A Great Cormorant in breeding attire and two adult Peregrine Falcons strafing the river side by side filled out my sightings for the day. I had to trudge through a little bit of snow to get to some of the lookout spots but it was far easier than I might have expected.