Thanks go to Master John yet again for his attention to detail, and once more I should have gone with my gut feeling on last week's Merganser which is indeed a female Common versus Red-breasted:
As for my rant about the
fool who misnamed missing neck ring on the so-called Ring-necked Duck, Master John indicated that in fact it was visible in both Ann's and my photos!
Sibley's field guide doesn't even mention it, but my National Geographic field guide indicates a "cinnamon collar" on the duck, saying it's tough to see. Double-click on this magnified photo (and hit the "back" button to return to the blog) and you will see it barely:
So I stand corrected, thanks John!