That was a bummer.
This morning, we had better luck. This immature male Tufted Duck was, from most angles, darker than the nearby female Lesser Scaup. It lacked any white in the face and had a nice broad, black nail on the bill. But the darn thing dove like the dickens. I imagine this is why John and I missed it a day ago. But the diving caused a further annoyance—it made the actual "tuft" for which the bird is named rather difficult to see since the head feathers were wet and slicked back. On a couple occasions, the bird stayed up for a few minutes, the feathers dried out, and the wind caused a little tuft to emerge at the back of this bird's head.
It was just far enough away to prevent genuinely quality photos; but, all told, they're diagnostic. Here it is next to a male Ring-necked Duck:
In front of some "Dusky" Canadas:
In flight between a Bufflehead and Lesser Scaup, showing extensive white in the wing (which I also photographed in Humboldt, Cali in January):
And again in flight above a Lesser Scaup:
Pintail Marsh, Ankeny NWR, Marion County, OR
The other really nice bird of the weekend came yesterday, when John and I had success with the Red-naped Sapsucker that's been hanging around Corvallis much of the winter. This is my first time seeing this species in the Willamette Valley/west of the Cascades.
Corvallis, Benton County, OR
Yay March. Yay birds.