Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Team Wigeons

Scoping the Mystery Ducks
Something Familiar About Them
Wigeon Swimming Past Sleeping Mallards
Just Passing Thru
Every year, I make the same mistake. I rise in the morning, scope Elmira Pond with the binoculars and see a duck I don't recognize. Mergansers? Wood duck? Ringed-neck? Bufflehead? Loon? Mutant?

What is it!

To the bird book I go. This year I've noted on the American wigeon page, "always mistake for a mysterious visitor." The photos in the bird book show details that blend at a distance. The wigeons white markings are not as distinct as other ducks. The males have a taupe color -- could be brow, could be gray -- with white overtones.

Yet as indistinct as wigeons appear, I recognize their throaty whistle which sounds like a cute squeaky toy. It's a soft sound, as soft as their muted colors, but unmistakeable. They are about the same size as the ringed-necks and both are half the size of the mallards.

Wigeons come and go. They are dabblers and Elmira Pond doesn't seem to keep many, but they do visit frequently in early spring. A ccording to the bird book, wigeons live year-round in the inland Northwest. They must like our four seasons.

The breeding grounds of wigeons are north and east of Elmira Pond. Many winter in the southwest and Mexico. They've done well as a species due to wet conditions. With the drought, I wonder if they will be impacted?

They don't say as they peep across the pond and fly on.

This is part of a March Madness Series. Vote for your favorite team!


  1. I'd never heard of wigeons before I read your post. Cool!

  2. I was about to say just the same as learning about new wildlife and love your photos as always Charli!

  3. They were "new to me" until I came to Elmira Pond! :-D