Yesterday, I drove past the lake on the north side of Shumard Oak Blvd. in Southwood and noticed some ducks, so I stopped for a look.  They were mostly Hooded Mergansers, with some DC Cormorants and Pied-billed Grebes.  But I saw a dark duck that I have identified as a female COMMON GOLDENEYE (a lifer!).  Here are my notes, sans sketch:

12/18/03 South section of Central Park Lake in Southwood
3:50 - 4:03 PM
Optics: Celestron Regal LS 10x42 Bins
Sunny, No Clouds
Bird viewed with the sun behind me
Closest approach 50 m to 75 m

- Uniform dark overall (either black or dark brown)
- A little "front heavy" like Greater Scaup, but no sheen apparent
- Small, dark bill
- Obvious yellow iris, even at the farthest distance
- Head sitting low, closer to body

- Lighter overall than the head, but still dark (grayish color).
- Conspicuous white patches consistent with goldeneye
- When diving, white (whitish) is apparent on the belly

- Diving for food, staying submerged about 20-30 seconds
- Not observed flying
- Not associating with Hooded Mergansers or other birds.
- No vocalizations

Species considered and rejected:
Bufflehead: Too large, yellow iris, head shape
Greater Scaup: Bill size, shape and color,  No sheen on head, Overall body color, white on the wings.
Lesser Scaup: Head shape in addition to points mentioned for greater

Ah, the beauty of field notes.

Rob Lengacher
Tallahassee, FL
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