Pippa and I have been watching with fascinated delight the antics of a solitary diving duck among the innumerable dabbling mallards on Northwestern University’s campus lagoon. We haven’t agreed, however, on the precise identification of our unknown subject.
The European Red-Crested Pochard bears a certain resemblance to our suspect, but since ours lacks the red bill, and since Evanston is not in Europe, we’re disposed to rule that one out. It could be a Redhead, though ours lacks the distinct black chest-grey torso coloration.Its golden eye might make you think it was a Goldeneye, but Goldeneyes seem to bear the characteristic white patch on their upper neck — but the immature Goldeneye, or perhaps a female, could resemble the perpetrator we’ve apprehended.
Feedback from keener-eyed, more expert birders would be welcome.
Mark’s mom says:
Maybe one of the Goldeneyes – common or Barrow’s – a female or immature adult?
Fr. Jeff says:
Greetings dear brother:
I hope all is well. I tried to comment on your blog, but even after I signed up it would not allow me to comment. [My comment function was temporarily turned off, as a brute-force spam prevention technique.] As one who enjoys fowl, and as an avid Duck hunter and watcher, I would say that the duck pictured is a female Common Goldeneye. I sent your link to a couple of my friends (one of whom is a wildlife biologist, and another who is the president of a local Ducks Unlimited chapter) and there seemed to be consensus. However, is the duck in question is immature (doubtful given the time of year), it could be misleading. . . .
He then followed up:
I misspoke I think. In my previous email, I commented that the bird in question was a Common Goldeneye…when I meant to say Barrow’s Goldeneye… (one other mark is the mottling of the feathers). If I did indeed misinform you, I apologize.