Saturday, February 09, 2008

February 9 - Tufted Duck and more Crossbills

Today I went on a long-distance trip to see an Old World species of duck that rarely visits Eastern North America. Known as the Tufted Duck this species appears similar to the common Ring-Necked Duck or Lesser Scaup species. Other than the tuft, the difference are the whiter flanks and slimmer neck, and a rounded head with a wider plainer bill.

Range Map for this species:

Once previously I have seen this species, and that was back in January 2002 in Rumson, NJ.
Knowing that it could be many more years until this bird is within driving distance, I took the drive up to East Providence, Rhode Island.

It was quite easy to find the spot where this bird, along with numerous Ring-Necked Ducks, were enjoying the fresh-water mussels within the James V. Turner Reservoir.

After 30 minutes or so of watching this bird, I headed back west toward home. Living on borrowed time, I made a brief stop at Connecticut's Hammonasset State Park.
Here I was able to see another rare visitor, this time from the Western US, in the Orange-Crowned Warbler .

Unfortunately, the rain started coming in so I had to cut this visit short. Before finally heading home, I had my lunch while watching the Red Crossbills, from incredibly close range --and for likely the last time this winter season.