White-winged Scoter, Inwood Hill Park

I am back to trading the markets every day, which is one reason my blog posts are fewer — I am doing a lot less birding. When an opportunity for a life Manhattan bird arises, though, I am always ready to spring into action.

This morning at 9:27 ornithologist Joe DiCostanzo posted to eBirdsNYC that he had observed a drake White-winged Scoter flying west over the Spuyten Duyvil, just north of Inwood Hill Park. At 10:42 he posted that he had observed the scoter again, swimming on the Duyvil just east of the Henry Hudson bridge.

I was 35 minutes late in reading his second message, but I had trades in progress and would not have been able to leave earlier anyway. Ducks tend to linger for the day, particularly in calm locations, so I was not too worried — particularly now that open (unfrozen) water remains relatively scarce.

I arrived at the east end of Inwood Hill Park at 1:15 p.m. I did not initially see any ducks on the water near the bridge, so I walked over to the newly-created Muscota Marsh where DiCostanzo had seen some Canvasbacks this morning, including a leucistic one. I was not seeing them, but I did see three Greater Scaup swimming together on the north side of the creek, which got me year bird number 69.

I thought I would have a better view of the Spuyten Duyvil to the northwest, where the scoter was last seen, if I walked on a promontory that juts out toward it. So I did, and the drake White-winged Scoter, with its characteristic white comma behind each eye, came clearly into view.

I later walked the trail that goes around the northern edge of the park and got a closeup look at the scoter from just east of the Henry Hudson bridge. I did not mind spending the extra time. I figured it probably would be years before I saw another.

While walking back along the Dyckman ball fields after following the trail west and off of Inwood Hill, I saw a drake Canvasback land on the Hudson, only the second time I have observed this species in Manhattan.