Proper Wigeon at Sunnyvale Baylands ;-)


March 9, 2001 with the Santa Clara county list at 190 thanks to three new species in the intervening month. Alviso, ever productive, had added sanderling and Virginia rail; a rufous-crowned sparrow had been at Calero Reservoir on the southern edge of San Jose.

Not new to the list but interesting all the same was this wigeon, “by which I mean Eurasian, not one of these new-fangled American types. There was a pair off the end of the boardwalk this lunchtime. It was interesting to get the ducks of the two species together for a spot of comparison. It’s not a decision I would care to call without the birds being side-by-side.”

Did I mean the females? The drakes are easy enough but I continued on this tack, “A strange thing is that only a handful of drakes in the UK show a white or creamy head stripe. The rest are clearly yellow. Yet every Eurasian wigeon I have seen over here [two thus far!] has been white/creamy. Perhaps there is some colour gradient from Asia to Europe?”

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