Thursday, February 11, 2016

A Visitor From Across the Pond

A weekend trip to the lowcountry of South Carolina produced an adult male Eurasian wigeon at Bulls Island. Bulls Island is part of the Cape Romaine National Wildlife Refuge. The appearance of the species at any time in the Carolinas is noteworthy.

Eurasian wigeons almost always are found associating with flocks of American wigeon in large impoundments in the eastern parts of North and South Carolina. The males are easy to pick out by scanning the flocks of wigeon. The females are much tougher to pick out and are almost never reported though I am sure they are present as often as males.

In the photo below, the Eurasian wigeon is the left bird with an American wigeon on the right. Note the red head and grayer body on the Eurasian. That is all you need in order to pick one out among large flocks of American wigeon.

In North Carolina, the Eurasian wigeon are most often found at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge.

Eurasian and American Wigeon by Jim Guyton

 In a bit better light, the handsomeness of the species can be better appreciated. This is the same bird as the upper photo.

Eurasian Wigeon by Jim Guyton