This fall several dozen Black Scoters have been seen hanging out around the seawall in Galveston. while many have been reported in Florida also. So when Justin LeClaire found one at Boca Chica Beach yesterday, I was not surprised although there are no previous Cameron County records on eBird. Well if Justin can find one, why not me? So this morning I took off in the old Tacoma 4x4 to drive the beach at Boca Chica.
As my truck gets older, each trip I wonder if it will come home safely. This morning after a brief stop on TX 4 just a few miles from the beach, I put my foot down on the brake pedal while I put it in drive and the brake made this funny "sploosh" sound and my the pedal went down to the floor. Woops. Well something broke and I had just lost most of my brake fluid and had precious little braking ability left. Should I turn around and try to make it home? Hmmm.....I wouldn't hurt to drive slowly to the beach and look around for scoters. So I did. I drove up to the jetties and saw precious little and every stop was an adventure. I learned I could put it in neutral and it would slow fairly quickly in the sand.
Nothing at the jetties. So I headed back down the beach and decided I should head for home while the truck still had a few stops left in it. And just before I left the beach, this little flock of four American Wigeons passed by over the surf. A fifth duck was following and it was coal black. Just like a Black Scoter! So I stopped the truck as best I could and jumped out and fired away with the camera. The feeble cropped shots sure seem to show a black duck with yellow/orange on the bill and gray undersides to the primaries. I would have to call it a male Black Scoter.
Well, pretty cool but not very satisfying. I may have to go back out and find a good place to watch the duck pass by and try for another. BTW, I drove back home on the freeway but had to stop a few time at lights before I got there. I learned I could put the truck into 2nd and then into 1st to stop at lights. Really fun.