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 Lesser Scaup

Status in Michigan
Common Transient


Early Spring Date


Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
Image Credits
Count totals in the NMB Databases for Lesser Scaup.

Use the links below to view the Lesser Scaup reports in the respective databases.
If there are zero sightings for a particular season, that database will return no results.



Active Database - Spring 2005
View Lesser Scaup sightings.
Lesser Scaup Archives Reports
Fall 2003 65
Spring 2003 2159
Winter 02-03 24
Fall 2002 847
Summer 2002 5
Spring 2002 3930
Winter 01-02 78
Fall 2001 24
Summer 2001 1
Spring 2001 200
Winter 00-01 4
Fall 2000 23
Summer 2000 0
Spring 2000 788
Winter 00-99 24
Fall 1999 1226
Spring/Summer 1999 9

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Lesser Scaup




Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Active Database - Fall 2003
View Fall 2003 sightings.
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Official Seasonal Count Summaries for the Lesser Scaup
Fall 1999-Spring 2002
Lesser Scaup
Note: Some species will not be present in the WPBO archives and will return no records.



Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited


Historical Text

Aythya marila nearctica Stejneger and Ayttiya affinis (Eyton)
Scaup Ducks

The 2 scaups are so similar that even some specimens are difficult of determination, and the 2 species are very rarely distinguishable in the field. Sight records are, therefore, here combined in a general account of the 2 species, and the separate accounts are based almost entirely on specimens. The Greater Scaup is possibly more common in Michigan than present records suggest.

These ducks are probably the most abundant transient ducks in Michigan. Flocks of dozens, hundreds, and even thousands occur in suitable places everywhere inland as well as along the Great Lakes.

SPRING.-The main flight is usually recorded from late March through early May.

Lower Peninsula.-For the Toledo-Erie marsh area, L. W. Campbell (1940: 48, 200) gave 8000 as the average maximum number of scaups seen in a day in spring; on April 8, 1934, he recorded 20,000. The main flight occurs there on the average between March 9 (corrected from "April 9," page 200) and May 17. Swales reported scaups in the Detroit region as early as March 2 (1907), but found them in their greatest abundance there from late April through early May. Most of the dates given for first arrivals in the Ann Arbor area by N. A. Wood and Tinker (1934: 11) fall between March 7 and March 30. Around Battle Creek (1931-39) Walkinshaw has recorded first arrivals between March 24 and April 13; Pirnie reports the main flight there in March and April. F. W. Rapp (1931: 4) has found scaups abundant in spring at Vicksburg, Kalamazoo County; his earliest spring record is March 15 (1928).

Upper Peninsula.-Bryens reports a few migrants yearly at McMillan, Luce County; they have arrived on dates ranging from April 22 to May 8. Christofferson reports scaups somewhat earlier at Munuscong Bay, Chippewa County, and at Blaney Park, Schoolcraft County, the dates for first arrivals at Munuscong Bay ranging from April 9 (1929) to April 29 (1928), and for Blaney, from April 13 (1938) to May 1 (1937 and 1942). In the Huron Mountains, Marquette County, scaups are uncommon; they are recorded there in spring from May 7 to June 5 (S. S. Gregory, Jr., 1929: 173). Scaups were recorded on Keweenaw Point on May 6 in 1931 (N. A. Wood, 1933: 716) and on Isle Royale on May 9 in 1937 (Laurence Dayton).

SUMMER.-Scaups have been reported occasionally in summer in both peninsulas: on the Detroit River, Wayne County (J. Claire Wood, 1905a;130; Barrows, 1912: 94; Swales, notes); at the St. Clair Flats (Collins, 1880a: 62; J. Claire Wood, 1910: 38, footnote); at Wintergreen Lake, Kalamazoo "County (1, on July 10, 1939, and 3 on June 3, 1936, reported by Pirnie); in Newaygo County (Ford, 1928: 497-98); in Mason County (several breeding pairs and a brood reported by Chaney, 1910: 273); at Douglas Lake, Cheboygan County (seen several times, usually in pairs, re- ported by Blanchard and Nelson, MS of 1937); at Mackinaw City, Cheboygan County (Leonard Wing, 1940: 174-75); at Seney, Schoolcraft County- (H. L. Bradley); and on Isle Royale (Peet, 1909: 345; 1909o: 119).

FALL.-The main flight is usually recorded in late October and early November.

Upper Peninsula.-On Isle Royale a flock of scaups was reported by Max M. Peet (1909: 345) on September 1 (1905) and one by A. Murie on October 5 (1929). S. S. Gregory, Jr. (1929: 173), recorded scaups in the Huron Mountain region, Marquette County, from September 30 to October 12, but found them uncommon there. They have been recorded by Christofferson at Munuscong Bay, Chippewa County, from August 31 (1927) to November 6 (1927), and at Blaney Park, Schoolcraft County, from September 9 (1932) to November 22 (1930). Van Tyne (1923: 22) found them common in early September, 1918, on Les Cheneaux Islands, Mackinac County.

Lower Peninsula.-"Walter E. Hastings reported "thousands" of scaups at Norwood, Charlevoix County, on November 21, 2023 (Van Tyne, 1925:614) . F. W. Rapp (1931: 4) found them common at Vicksburg, Kalama- zoo County, from November 1 to 26. Rysgaard (1940: 19) recorded them at the Kellogg Sanctuary, Kalamazoo County, from October 13 to December 5 in 1939, noting maximum numbers on October 19. In the Gull Lake- Battle Creek area Pirnie reports that the fall flight begins in late September or early October, usually reaching its peak about October 20. In the Detroit area, Swales (notes) reported small flocks in late September and early October; scaups were usually common in late October and throughout November. For the Ann Arbor region, A. D. Tinker and N. A. Wood (1916: 124) gave late October and early November as the usual time of departure (latest date recorded: December 3).

WINTER.-Scaups winter regularly, sometimes in large flocks, in the Toledo-Erie marsh area (L. W. Campbell, 1940: 48), but in the Chicago region (which includes Berrien County, Michigan) they winter only un- commonly (Ford, Sanborn, and Coursen, 1934: 29). Elsewhere in southern counties they are irregular and usually uncommon in winter. Pirnie (1935: 177) reported that "Lake St. Clair is one of the few Michigan lakes at which huge flocks of bluebills . . . usually remain well into the winter."

Aythya affinis (Eyton)
Lesser Scaup Duck (A.O.U. 1998: Lesser Scaup)

Very common transient; irregular summer visitant. Winter status unknown.

First listed for Michigan by Gibbs (1879: 494): "Fuligula affinis.

SPRING.-There are some 50 specimens, collected on dates ranging from March 8 to May 28: 9 from Wayne County (largely the region around the mouth of the Detroit River), March 9 (1934) to April 13 (1934); 2 from Strawberry Island and St. Clair Flats, St. Clair County, May 21 and 23, 1934; 22 from Washtenaw County, March 8 (1932) to May 10 (1901); 3 from Jackson County, March 31 (1894) to April 18 (1894) ; 1 from Wintergreen Lake, Kalamazoo County, April 28, 1933; 3 from Sand Point, Huron County, May 14 to 24, 1933; 1 from Lake Charlevoix, Charlevoix County, May 11, 1934; 8 from Beaver Island, Charlevoix County, May 3 (1929) to May 28 (1932); and 1 from Copper Harbor, Keweenaw County, May 6, 1931.

SUMMER.-Trautman collected a specimen at the mouth of the Detroit River, Wayne County, on August 29, 1935.

FALL.-The 40 specimens examined were taken from October 17 to November 15. Trautman and Pirnie reported the species as abundant at Houghton Lake, Roscommon County, and at Muskegon Lake, Muskegon County. Trautman recorded the main flight at Houghton Lake during the last 2 weeks of October, but found the species there from early October into November. Twenty-seven specimens were taken there on dates ranging from October 17 (1936) to November 13 (1938). Other specimens are from: Muskegon Lake, Muskegon County, November 8, 2023 (several); Kalamazoo, October 29, 2023 (1); Washtenaw County, November 15, 2023 (1) ; Huron Point, Macomb County, October 24, 2023 (1); St. Clair Flats, St. Clair County, October 25, 2023 (1) ; mouth of the Detroit River, Wayne County, October 20, 2023 (2).


Source:
MISCELLANEOUS PUBLICATIONS
Mueseum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

Digitized by: Keith F. Saylor
[email protected]





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