Human activity on the lake subsides markedly after Labour Day. The ski boats and personal watercraft have been stored for the winter and most of the cottagers won't return until late May. On this calm and sunny afternoon we crossed wakes with only a few fishing boats.
We were delighted to encounter a lone Surf Scoter, Melanitta perspicillata, swimming in about 10 metres of water, perhaps a kilometre from shore. While she wouldn't allow us to approach closer than a few boat lengths, she was quick to tuck her bill under her wing when we were more distant. Perhaps she was resting after a long flight from it's northern breeding range.
Of the three scoter species we've seen on the lake, this is the only one whose range is confined to North America.
Savard, J.-P. L., D. Bordage, and A. Reed. 1998. Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata). In The Birds of North America, No. 363 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.