Sunday, December 26, 2010

Central Mass Barrow's Goldeneye Identification

We found 3 female BARROW'S GOLDENEYE on Lake Quinsigamond during the Worcester Christmas Bird Count on December 18th. Two of these birds were classic Barrow's, but one looked a little off. It's bill was overall orange with some small dark blotches. Its bill was much duller than the others and seemed a bit larger. Its head shape seemed consistent with Barrow's as compared to the many Common Goldeneye that were present. I "phone-scoped" a bunch of photos of these birds (phone-scoping is taking photos with a cell phone through a spotting scope).


Questionable Female BARROW'S GOLDENEYE

On the same day Mark Lynch and Sheila Carroll had an adult male Barrow's at South Bay of Wachusett Reservoir. This makes an astounding 4 Barrow's in Worcester county. They checked again a few days later and found a female had joined the male. I checked these birds out last Thursday and found that it was a classic female Barrow's. This morning, December 26, I checked out the extreme Northern end of Wachusett reservoir (gate 40) in Clinton and found a group of Common Goldeneye. This was a different group than the one in South Bay. In this group was a female with an orange, but dull bill with some black blotching. It looks a lot like the questionable bird on December 18th at lake Quinsigamond. I haven't checked Quinsigamond since the count, but those birds may be moving to Wachusett as the lake freezes over. A poor quality, phone-scoped photo is below.

The Wachusett Bird seen today

Here's an example of 2 female COMMON GOLDENEYEs taken last February at Wachusett for comparison.

David Sibley's blog (updated 02Mar10) has a great entry on distinguishing between female Barrow's and Common goldeneyes. Check it out here: David Sibley's Blog on Common Vs. Barrow's Goldeneye Identification


No comments:

Post a Comment