Sunday, November 15, 2009

Eurasian Wigeon: The Saga Continues

Photographs (copyrighted) by Tony Leukering

For a short while yesterday morning (14 Nov), Dave Czaplak and I had solved the mystery as to the sex of the "bright" one of the two female-plumaged Eurasian Wigeons that have been gracing Lighthouse Pond. That's because we found the bright bird to now be sporting patches of gray on both sides (as noted, below, by Don), a certain indicator that the bird is a male. However, a bit later when viewing the ducks from the blind in the State Park (rather than from Lighthouse Ave. as earlier), we found the bright bird and it lacked gray on the sides. Hmm. We also found the "duller" bird. Hmm, did we imagine things? No, because we then found the "bright" bird with gray on the sides. There are now three Eurasian Wigeons present, none of them being adult males -- the age/sex that accounts for virtually all records of the species in North America away from the West Coast.

Below, I've included photos from the 14th of both the bright one lacking gray and the bright one with gray. Oh, our new Brit resident, Mike Crewe, tells me that the original bright one (the one lacking gray) is obviously a juvenile, as it sports gray down the culmen. Thus, with the age determined, the whiteness of the one white inner secondary (Americans sport a pale gray inner secondary) tells us that it must be a male (adult females can have a similarly bright white secondary). He should know. Finally, Melissa Roach and Doug Gochfeld noted a bird there that might have been a second female Eurasian Wigeon; my, oh my.

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