Saturday, February 23, 2013

Common Goldeneye

Here is the reddish-headed duck I mentioned spotting the other day that I had never seen before.  It is called a Common Goldeneye. This is a female and it is the only one I saw that day. The lighter tip of it's bill in this photo isn't sunlight; that is actually the way the bill is. Like many other ducks, they nest in tree cavities. That seems a little odd to me with a duck's webbed feet.  They don't construct the cavities themselves, but use old woodpecker nests or natural holes in trees.

The white ring around the neck is more evident in this image. They summer throughout most of Canada and winter throughout most the U.S. The male has a circular white spot between the bill and the eye. I don't think the white spots near the base of the bill are normal markings of this species.

The angle of the light was never right to see the eye as golden. 

I was surprised it was out there alone. Most species are pretty social, sticking together in groups of at least a few birds. It was out there for quite a while. It is also a diving duck and was actively searching for crustaceans, the dominant food in winter.

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