Date: 11/18/18 1:50 pm
From: Malcolm Gold <malcolmgold...>
Subject: Orange-billed Female Goldeneyes
On November 15th I spotted an interesting female Goldeneye at Miola
Lake in Miami
County near Paola Kansas. She had a bright orange billed, warmer colored
brown head, steeper forehead, and a smaller (yet still fairly substantial)
bill. I did not observe her in flight to get a picture of the number of
secondary white feathers but my initial impression was female Barrow's
Goldeneye. This is a bird that I look for each winter among the large
flocks of Common Goldeneye. In the past decade I have found almost a 3 to 1
ratio of orange-billed Common to Barrow's in my endeavors.

I was scouting quickly for a Burroughs field trip and wasn't prepared to
take photos. As such the birds are quite distant from when I first saw them
with binoculars and the photos are blurry from the lens not liking the
temperature change. The bird of interest is the middle bird in the photo
montage of three different birds swimming away.

All by blurry photos can be seen in the following Flickr Album.

I sent a text to a few people close-by but no one was able to refind the
bird on the small lake. Kathy C found an orange-billed Common Goldeneye
and I seriously questioned my ID capabilities and possible explanations
when I looked at her photo.

Fortunately, when I transferred photos from my camera to the computer today
I saw there were two orange-billed female goldeneyes in the flock.
Unfortunately neither was there during the Burroughs field trip yesterday.
These two birds seem to represent the extremes of the orange-billed
Goldeneye's and, in my opinion, represent both species fairly well.

For anyone interested, here are a couple of resources to look at in
separating the two female Goldeneye species.

Tony Leukering 2012 Article from Colorado Birds

David Sibley 2010 blog on head and bill differences

Good Birding,
Malcolm Gold (Overland Park, Johnson County, KS)

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