Date: 11/12/20 2:19 pm From: Wayne Hoffman <whoffman...> Subject: [obol] Re: Hagg Lake Goldeneyes
In my experience from Newport, where I was able to keep track of several of these orange-billed immature Common Goldeneyes through the course of the winter, they were immature males. Generally, the first sign of male feathering coming in was on the upper breast, just below the darker head.
From: "Nels Nelson" <nelsnelson7...>
To: "Rick Bennett" <rickbennett67...>, "obol" <OBOL...>
Sent: Thursday, November 12, 2020 2:10:41 PM
Subject: [obol] Re: Hagg Lake Goldeneyes
Thanks Rick for sharing the additional information on how to properly ID female goldeneyes. After reviewing all this additional information and reviewing all my photos of the yellow-billed individual, I've concluded it is a somewhat unusual variant of a juvenile Common Goldeneye. If interested, I've added additional photos of the yellow-billed bird to my eBird report above.
I had not appreciated how complicated and subjective it can be, especially since many of the characteristics highlighted in guides have so much overlap and are so changeable depending on movement and orientation. Concerning the bird with the mostly dirty orange bill, I realize I just didn't see it well enough to put a name on it. Sorry for the false alarm. Cheers, Rick
Hi all, I went ahead and changed the Barrow’s Goldeneye on my Hagg Lake eBird checklist to a Common Goldeneye. I really don’t think I photographed the same birds as the rest of you. The bird I thought was a Barrow’s has a different sized and shaped bill than the one Nels photographed. After looking at many references I feel the head shape, eye color, and bill size, shape and color are wrong on my bird for a Barrows. I took many photos of the Goldeneyes I saw in various positions and none of them show my bird with the forward slanting type of head shape that seems to be somewhat diagnostic. I haven’t seen a lot of Barrow’s in the past, so always, feedback is welcome. Cheers, Susan
Hi all, Just catching up on emails and looking at the Hagg Lake reports from yesterday. Looks like everyone had less than ideal conditions for looking at the goldeneyes and we all saw them under different conditions. When I was there it was mid 30s and breezy so they kept their bills tucked most of the time. Usually when I have seen female BAGO in the past, they were associated with males. Since this time it initially appeared that there were females of both species, I spent a lot of time trying to get better looks and some photos and then went home to compare them to as many field guides and photos as I could find. Everyone could see that bill color was definitely a different color than the typical COGO. To me, body plumage also seemed darker gray and more streaked on the one I called a BAGO. In the field, head shape and steepness of the forehead was very fluid as they moved and changed angle so I couldn't tell much from those characteristics. The bill size of the bird I call the BAGO seemed smaller at times and similar at others, but I had very few chances to see both bills at the same time. Once home, in looking through pictures, I found only one photo identified as a COGO in the eBird archive that has a similar amount of orange up on the bill, but I also have to remember that depending on location those photos may not have been flagged and reviewed. So, because of the differences in bill color and plumage coloration, it appeared to me that they really were different species, so I posted it, but admittedly I hoped others with more experience with BAGO would find this bird and weigh in. I am still curious if there are clues I have overlooked. Stefan has seen a lot more BAGO than me and was not sure if this was one. I am wondering if that was because it didn't seem to be a BAGO in comparison to the nearby COGO or if it didn't look like a BAGO period. I keep wondering if things would be different if we all saw the bird on its own. Anyway, I'm still trying to learn for the next time. Cheers, Rick
I forgot to send you my eBird report. You'll note that I've listed one of the goldeneyes as a Barrow's. I couldn't tell for sure when we were in the field, as with the rain and my not so great eyesight, I couldn't tell for sure. However, when I got my photos on my computer where I could see them better, I could plainly see that one of the four birds had a mostly yellow (and slightly shorter) bill as compared to the Common GE's, so have called it a Barrow's. As I state in my report, my photo looks (at least to me) to be the same bird that Rick Bennett saw and took photos of yesterday.