On a cold day, make that a very cold day with winds causing discomfort for a former Floridian, I made efforts to observe a reported Barrow’s Goldeneye near Tuxis Island in Connecticut to close my 2016 wildlife observations.
I heard from wildlife blogger Hemant Kishan who told me that he has seen Barrow’s Goldeneye on the Detroit River which is another out of bounds observation of the species with this species typically seen in the northwest corner of the United States.
The Barrow’s Goldeneye is readily identified in comparison to Common Goldeneye by a comma shaped white patch on its face.
The Herring Gull above (image 1) was photographed at East Wharf Beach Park in December 2016.
The Red-breasted Merganser above (image 2) was photographed near East Wharf Beach Park in December 2016.
The Common Goldeneye above (image 3) was photographed near East Wharf Beach Park in December 2016.
Initial observations to find the Barrow’s Goldeneye were made at noontime near Tuxis Island in Madison, Connecticut, on 30 December 2016 with four birders on the scene.
As far as I could tell there were no good birds in the swells and heavy winds. From here I made my way to East Wharf Beach Park along Middle Beach Road as recommended by one of the birders.
The Mallard above (image 4) was photographed at Hammonasset Beach State Park in December 2016.
The Barrow’s Goldeneye with Bufflehead above (image 5) was photographed near Tuxis Island in December 2016.
Without seeing the Barrow’s Goldeneye in my 90 minutes of observations I continued further east toward Hammonasset Beach State Park.
Driving along Middle Beach Road I caught sight of a pair of Red-breasted Merganser and a Bufflehead. They doubled their distance from the shoreline by the time I backed up the car to take a few photos.
The Ring-billed Gull above (image 6) was photographed near Tuxis Island in December 2016.
The Common Goldeneye above (image 7) was photographed near Tuxis Island in December 2016.
My arrival at Hammonasset Beach State Park 30 January would be my first visit after reading many eBird reports from this Long Island Sound “hotspot” that has hosted 304 bird species as reported at eBird. I made a slow drive along all the primary roadways.
Although the wind was wicked this day with my tripod being blown over before I could get the camera and lens secured west of the traffic circle I was excited by the sighting of a Great Black-backed Gull working the perimeter of the pond.
There were Mallard in decent numbers, more than I had seen at any one time while making observations in Florida. A male Northern Harrier was seen perched across the pond.
The Herring Gull above (image 8) was photographed near Tuxis Island in December 2016.
The Ring-billed Gull above (image 9) was photographed near Tuxis Island in December 2016.
As I began to succumb to the cold conditions at Hammonasset I opted to return to Tuxis Island where the specialty bird had been reported.
The winds were diminishing closer to sunset and the waves were not as high as earlier in the day. There were a good number of Common Goldeneye with a Bufflehead diving on the shoreside of Gull Rock.
Too far for me to identify the Barrow’s Goldeneye with my camera alone. I still hadn’t unpacked my bins. Further inspection of images captured revealed a life bird for me.
The sunset above (image 10) was photographed near Tuxis Island in December 2016.