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Hi Robert!

Having seen thousands of COMMON GOLDENEYES on Lake Michigan over the years, I have always noticed that the female's heads always look definitely dark RED in bright sunlight - in fact, at a distance, I sometimes temporarily mistake them for REDHEADS, which are very often mixed in with the rafts of Goldeneyes. Of course, my red could be your brown.............

Roy Peterson
Deltona
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Robert Lengacher 
  To: [log in to unmask] 
  Sent: Friday, December 19, 2003 7:17 AM
  Subject: [FLBIRDS] Common Goldeneye at Southwood


  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

  Head: 
  - 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

  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

  Behavior:
  - 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
  [log in to unmask]

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