More duck talk

Common Pochards

Common Pochards

The cold weather has returned with temperatures below 5 C. There is new snow in the mountains and the weather has not been appealing the last few days.

I did check Eiði and Hvalvík the other day, and the result was a single Yellow-browed in Hvalvík and 4 Common Pochards at Eiði.

Today I checked Árnafirði briefly and both a Lesser Whitethroat and a Blackcap were seen in between the hail showers.

Lesser Whitethroat

Lesser Whitethroat

In the afternoon Rockmund called me. He had found what appeared to be a female American Wigeon at Norðskála. My reply was: “You’re a brave man, Rodmund”. We have had a few American Wigeon-types over the years, but they have never been accepted. So under normal circumstances I would not twitch such a bird (not even a male for that instance).

American Wigeon

American Wigeon

But since I am guiding a tour for the Faroese Ornithological Society during the weekend on Suðuroy I happened to drive past the place just an hour after Rockmunds call. So I did stop to check it out. And it took me only a few seconds to spot the bird Rockmund was referring to. The grey head, striking bill, dark eye patch and its size made it very easy distinguish from the Wigeons.

American Wigeon

American Wigeon

I did spend some time with the bird and my conclusion is that it must be an eclipse male American Wigeon (maybe the same bird that has been around Eiði a few kilometers to the north in a previous year?). My arguments for the identification are:

–          Large white patch in front of the mirror on the inner wing.

–          From some angles it showed “ghostly markings” in the head resembling ad. male American Wigeon in full breeding plumage.

–          The bill was bright blue-grey.

–          Overall colours were quite saturated.

–          It was visibly bigger than all the Wigeons it was foraging with.

–          A small white patch was visible on the folded wing just above the flanks.

American Wigeon

American Wigeon

American Wigeon

American Wigeon

American Wigeon to the right

American Wigeon to the right

If accepted it would be the 6th record for the Faroes and amazingly Rockmund has found 5 of those!

American Wigeon

American Wigeon

Silas Olofson

 

 

 

 

 

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One comment on “More duck talk

  1. Patrik Wildjang (Stockholm, Sweden) says:

    Congrats to the record! I can´t see anything that talks againt your conclusions about the species. It isn´t that surprising that you get americans visiting the Faroes. About the flight-pictures, if an adult male in eclipse-phase, I reckon it should already have white wing-bars and much more developed adult plumage by this time of the year. Therefore I think this fellow is a post-juvenile moulting 1st year male. Size-wise both species should be pretty much equal. Check out i.e these adult ones: http://svalan.artdata.slu.se/birds/gallery_imageinfo.asp?imageID=525541 or http://svalan.artdata.slu.se/birds/gallery_imageinfo.asp?imageID=524272 or this female: http://svalan.artdata.slu.se/birds/gallery_imageinfo.asp?imageid=177048

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