Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Scaup Tracker

Yes, it's that time of year. Late fall and cool temps are bringing the scaup streaming down from their northerly nesting grounds. As we speak, scaup - a kind of diving duck, for the unilluminati - are invading the midwest, coming to a water body near you.

We have two species, you know. Lesser Scaup, Aythya affinis, which is the common Ohio scaup and under most conditions are default scaup. Then there is the larger Great Scaup, Aythya marila; a hardier beast that rides out the cold waters of Lake Erie winters as if it is nothing, feasting liberally on the Zebra and Quagga mussels.

If you have any interest whatsoever in scaup, you'll want to log onto the amazing new "scaup-tracker". That's right, our friends the scaup now have their own website, developed and supported by our Canadian friends to the north. Good day, eh? Really, this site is quite interesting; nothing to "scaup" at, that's for sure.

To tune in to the amazing "Scaup Tracker", visit this website, courtesy of Bird Studies Canada. Here, you can monitor the descent of these most interesting of ducks as they peregrinate cross-country and into our neck of the woods. Not only can you monitor large numbers of scaup as a whole, viewers can tune in to the madcap antics of their favorite scaup. Don't have a fav? You will, once you visit the website. You see, they've named their tagged birds, and fans can specifically select, say, "Ruby Rose", and learn that she was first picked up in extreme northeastern Canada on September 19, and by October 25 was down in New York state.

"Howard" is a scaup with a mission. We pick up Ole Howie near Edmonton, Alberta on October 2, and learn that he pretty much straightlines it pronto to Lake Erie, arriving in our waters on October 23.

So, have at it. Visit the site and scaup away.

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