Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Eurasian Wigeon at Oak Hammock Marsh

Yesterday we went to Oak Hammock Marsh for a friends birthday.

Before we left to the marsh we walked around our yard and saw some Eastern Phoebes and Yellow-rumped Warblers. The spring birds have been coming in, with first of the years day by day.
Eastern Pheobe

We headed out to Oak Hammock Marsh, but several kilometers before the turnoff to the marsh we stopped at a field full of waterfowl.
There were a lot of Northern Pintails, Mallards, as well as a few Green-winged teals.

We spent ten or fifteen minutes scanning the flock of ducks. My brother spotted a different looking duck with a orange head. The bird was perhaps 500 m away. At the time we weren't sure what it was, but we later identified it from the photo as a Eurasian Wigeon. Eurasian Wigeons are accidental here, only being seen once in a while. eBird says the last time one of them were spotted around this area was about ten years ago.
After enlarging the photo you can clearly see the rufous head and buffy forehead.
Unfortunately due to the distance I did not get any better photos, but enough to make it out clearly.

Eurasian Wigeon

As soon as we pulled into the Oak Hammock Marsh parking lot we spotted a Great Egret in a pond.
Seeing it brought back memories of Florida a year and a half ago, where we saw hundreds of egrets.

Great Egret

Great Egret

Great Egret

We then walked around the trails of Oak Hammock Marsh, about 3.5 km.
There were many of the common marsh birds, and many species of waterfowl have returned. It is a bit too early for shorebirds, except for Killdeer.

Red-winged Blackbird 

There was also several Yellow-headed Blackbirds, which is a bit earlier than usual.
Yellow-headed Blackbird

Song Sparrow

And of course many ground squirrel running around.
Ground squirrels chasing each other around
Richardson's Ground Squirrel

Richardson's Ground Squirrel - This one took a beating
Richardson's Ground Squirrel - On lookout as I watch it

American Tree Sparrow 
Song Sparrow

There were also some waterfowl out on the water, but too far for decent photos. There were Red-necked Grebes, Buffleheads, American Coots, Ring-necked Ducks and Horned Grebe.

As we drove out we were able to snap some more photos of the Great Egret

Great Egret

Great Egret
Canada Geese

Great Egret flying

Great Egret 
Great Egret

Great Egret

Since yesterday when we discovered the Eurasian Wigeon, I believe it has been seen two times. We returned again today in search of it but to no avail. However we did see some Short-eared Owls flying around the marsh which was a special treat.

Stay tuned for more posts as more Spring birds come around!