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FLORIDABIRDS-L  November 2002

FLORIDABIRDS-L November 2002

Subject:

Eurasian Wigeon - Merrit Island Nat'l Wildlife Refuge

From:

Dot and Wayne Freeman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Fri, 29 Nov 2002 21:06:07 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (59 lines)

Hello Florida Friends,

My GA birding friend,Jim Flynn, asked me to post this message. I think you will find it quite interesting.

Also, in a second message, I will post the remainder of his message to me which is about Western and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers in the Zellwood area.

Jim writes:

Once again I would like to thank you so much for the directions and advice on
where to bird today in the Orlando area.

The prospect of seeing a Eurasian Wigeon was too good to pass up; heck, just
opportunity to bird Merritt I. itself is a highlight.  I found the wigeon at 8
am near marker number 7, just as Ken Allie had posted earlier in the week to
FloridaBirds.  This is quite an interesting bird.  In most respects, it looks
like an adult male Eurasian Wigeon, but the lighting in the morning around
that impoundment is horrendous.  I studied it for about two hours, but no
matter how hard I tried, I could not shake the pinkish cast on the sides of
the bird, much like that of an adult male American Wigeon.  It was especially
strong on the upper portion along the wing line while swimming, and in front
of the white flank patch.  Towards the water line, it faded to a more proper
grayish color. I have only seen two adult male Eurasian Wigeon in the past,
but both of those birds had totally gray sides.  The other thing that bothered
me was that the buffy yellow cap and forehead seemed fairly pale.  Maybe it
was just the lighting, but there could be a sizeable population of whitish
feathers mixed in with normal buffy-yellow feathers.  It is just my opinion,
but I believe that this is not a "pure" Eurasian Wigeon, that it has some
American Wigeon in the family tree.  The way it was chasing and courting a
female American Wigeon, I believe that its family tree will be branched and
tangled further in the future!  I did meet Ken Allie here a little later, and
we agreed that the bird definitely had a pinkish color to the sides.  That I
could tell, the bird did not have any remnants of an iridescent green
eye-patch on the bright rufous-colored head, so I'm not sure how much American
heritage it actually possessed.

Most of the other species that I observed at Merritt were the expected
species: scads of American Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal
Northern Shovelers and Blue-winged Teal; large flocks of Glossy Ibis; about 50
Roseate Spoonbills; 40 or so American White Pelicans; one immature Reddish
Egret; and a few Caspian Terns.

I also visited Canaveral National Seashore, but without much luck.  Very few
Northern Gannets were offshore, one lone immature Bonaparte's Gull, and a
small flock of Sandwich Terns were all I could muster (besides the really
common residents).  Oh yeah, there was also one adult male American Wigeon
sitting in the ocean several hundred yards offshore.  That's the first time I
have seen a wigeon on such heavy seas.  Actually, it may be the first one I
have ever seen in the ocean.

Best Wishes,
Dot Freeman, Orlando

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