A Wigeon From Far Away

Eurasian Wigeon male
Eurasian Wigeon male, dabbling
Eurasian Wigeon, male
American Wigeon, male, for comparison

Many of the birds we see on the water over the winter months travel great distances to get here.  Many come from Alaska, Northern Canada, or at least from the northern Midwestern states.  But few if any come from breeding grounds farther away than this Eurasian Wigeon.  He — and it is a male — was mixed in with dozens of the more common American Wigeons near the southern edge of the North Basin.  This kind of bird found here, as far as scientists can determine, probably came from Eastern Siberia.  Another population, found on the Atlantic seaboard, comes from Iceland. Not surprisingly, these birds are uncommon here.  I spotted only one among the local wigeons, and I would not have noticed that one but for a tip from a pair of sharp-eyed birders visiting here from Fullerton CA.  We met outside the Burrowing Owl preserve, which is still awaiting its first special visitor of this winter.  It’s a continuing delight to talk to strangers carrying binoculars and share bird observations and other thoughts with them.  

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