White-Winged Scoter

Melanitta deglandi
Range Map

Scoters are known as ‘sea ducks’ because they spend their winters in coastal waters, either in sheltered bays, river mouths, or near shore breakers. I have more experience with Surf Scoters than with White-Winged Scoters or Black Scoters, which are the three scoter species found in North America. I’ve yet to meet a Black Scoter, and until 2022, I’d never encountered a White-Winged Scoter.

Modern Taxonomists regard all North American scoters, such as White-Winged Scoters, as monotypic (i.e. no subspecies are recognised).

All North American scoter species nest inland near freshwater lakes in Boreal forests. When I met my first White-Winged Scoters, they were in the company of a larger group of Surf Scoters along Toad River next to the Alaska Highway in Canada’s British Columbia. It would be hard for me to single out a highlight from my 2022 expedition through northern Canada, but my visit to Toad River rates very high as a candidate.

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