American Birding Podcast



#ABArare – Common Scoter – Oregon

On Sunday, November 13, John Gardiner found an ABA Code 5 Common Scoter in Lincoln County, Oregon. Pending acceptance this is only the 2nd record for the ABA Area, and a 1st record for Oregon.


Photo: John Gardiner (S32526121) via Macaulay Library

The bird was seen just south of the town of Lincoln City, at a pull of on Hwy 101 (Oregon Coast Highway) where it overlooks Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The most approximate location is pinned at this eBird checklist. This is approximately 2 hours southeast of Portland, Oregon.

Common Scoter was split from the North American Black Scoter (or American Scoter) by the BOU in 2005, a decision which was echoed by the AOU in 2010 by virtue of plumage differences (particularly among adult males), but also differences in vocalizations as well.

Common Scoter breeds across the north of Europe east to central Russia. Prior to this California bird the closest the species has come to North America is Greenland, which has a handful of records. In fact, this species has been long expected to show up at some point in the ABA Area, but the fact that it was first in California rather than somewhere in the northeast is certainly a surprise.

Appropriately, Tom Johnson wrote an article on identification of scoters, including Common Scoter, in the December 2014 issue of Birding magazine.