Falcated Duck 3/6

Birdking88 at aol.com Birdking88 at aol.com
Wed Mar 6 22:07:55 PST 2002


Hey Tweeters,
I attempted to find the Falcated Duck today with Carol Schulz and Ilene
Samowitz, this time successfully. We got up to Edison by 6:15 in the morning,
and began searching the ponds and fields for ducks by 6:30am. It was in the
mid to high 20's, with a "nice" stiff breeze. Most or all of the ponds in the
fields were frozen over, and all the ducks were in the sheltered areas of the
bays I suppose. Goodly numbers of wigeons viewable from the pullout near the
church. Also a flock of Dunlin 1000+ strong, 40 or so Black-bellied Plovers,
half a dozen Western Sandpipers, 2 snipe, and an adult Thayer's Gull. Five
Bald Eagles were teaming up on the ducks, and one of them did get an American
Wigeon as we watched.
We, along with Denny Granstrand, went out to the end of Samish Island in
search of the Great Gray Owl, with no luck. We stopped at this spot 2 more
times during the rest of the day, but never saw, nor heard, the bird/s. On
our way back south, we noticed that there was a large flock of wigeons out in
Padilla Bay. We could only see part of the flock at a time (from Samish
Island Rd in the woods), but we could see at least 60 Eurasians just looking
at the near wigeons in sight. So we decided to start working our way to the
West 90 to walk out on the dike. On our way, we got an FRS radio call from
Denny saying "We've got the Falcated Duck out here!" So we hurried out to the
dike, walked to the very end (past the greenhouses), which is about 2 miles
one way from the West 90 parking lot. We scoped the same flock of wigeons
which we had seen from the trees. The huge flock was up against the bank of
Samish Island.
After scanning the thousands of American Wigeons for about 10 minutes, we
came up with nearly 100 male Eurasian Wigeons, 1 male "COMMON" TEAL, 1 male
intergrade "Common" x Green-winged Teal, and the adult male FALCATED DUCK!
The bird is relatively easy to spot with the wigeons once you know what
exactly to look for. It is a very large duck, noticeably larger than the
wigeons and even the nearby Mallards and pintails. The Falcated was actively
feeding. Eagles have the birds quite easily spooked and flighty, but the
Falcated was found each time the flock landed again, even at a great
distance.

That's all for now, good luck birding!

Charlie Wright
Birdking88 at aol.com
Sumner, WA


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