Diving waterfowl identification help

Triggernosis

Ten Pointer
This past weekend while fishing in the Swanquarter area we often experienced small flocks of some sort of diving waterfowl that I'm interested in identifying. When we were running along on the boat, flocks resting on the water up ahead of us would take off and seem to run forever and then fly low to the water to keep ahead of us, maybe eventually peeling off to one side or the other and oftentimes diving underwater. Once when drifting along the bank casting for fish we had a flock of about 30 birds come within 100 yards or so of us and I was able to witness an interesting behavior. All within just a few seconds of one another, they would dive underneath the water and disappear for a 10, 15, 20-seconds or so and then all pop up pretty much simultaneously 25-or so yards away from where they went under. I'm guessing they may have been feeding or something. They were mostly a brown color with a lighter (maybe white) patch or so around their head area. Some sort of grebe, perhaps? I can't find any sort of picture on the internet that looks like them. Definitely not a coot or cormorant, though.
Any ideas.
 

Triggernosis

Ten Pointer
yeah if they had no issue coming close to the boat and were more brown id go ruddy too.
They only got about 100 yards from us, but no closer. Could very well have been ruddy ducks, but I certainly didn't see any of the blue bills and pretty plumage of what I think about when I envision a male ruddy duck. I didn't realize they travelled in flocks like that, either. What are they doing when they dive under as a group like that?
We were fishing straight-out from the Wildlife ramp that's on the canal in the town of Swanquarter, just west of the ferry terminal and they seemed to be everywhere around there.

Thanks, y'all.
 

Wildlifer

Twelve Pointer
What do you mean by that? And, is a dipper a bufflehead?
To address the first comment about the plumage, they get their mating colors in the spring not the fall like most ducks.

Yes, dippers is slang for a bufflehead

My comment about the season was in jest, for the most part its been pretty slow with birds spread out due to all the water and not much migration with the lack of cold fronts. Regardless of the weather you can count on ruddy ducks and buffleheads to be around. I often joke that there would not be a duck guide on the coast if not for the ruddys and dippers.
 

Triggernosis

Ten Pointer
Regardless of the weather you can count on ruddy ducks and buffleheads to be around. I often joke that there would not be a duck guide on the coast if not for the ruddys and dippers.
Gotcha. I had no idea that ruddy ducks were so prevalent. So, it also sounds like shooting ruddys and dippers is akin to shooting sparrows and blackbirds - i.e. not very sporting?
 

Wildlifer

Twelve Pointer
ehhh sorta. They can actually be a challenge to shoot IF they fly in. They come in fast, inches above the water. A lot of times they will land well off and swim into the decoys and then get water swatted. They are both a sucker for decoys, that's mainly where the saying I have comes from.
 

Triggernosis

Ten Pointer
ehhh sorta. They can actually be a challenge to shoot IF they fly in. They come in fast, inches above the water. A lot of times they will land well off and swim into the decoys and then get water swatted. They are both a sucker for decoys, that's mainly where the saying I have comes from.
gotcha
 

nekkedducker

Eight Pointer
From what ive seen its an epic year for scoters and buffleheads in NC. I dont mind a good bufflehead shoot, its like shooting doves inches off the water, but im not for driving three hours just to shoot them.
 

Triggernosis

Ten Pointer
Could have been scoters or buffleheads.
Theres been a lot of both over that way this season
Definitely not scoters. I did see some buffleheads that I recognized, but they were not the groups I was asking about. After looking at pictures on the 'net I'm pretty sure they were ruddy ducks.
 

Hydemarsh

Six Pointer
They will be gigger this spring. If we do not get another big cold water kill this year, we may have decent trout fishing again.

ducks came on the last moon.
 
Top