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Harlequin Duck

HARD_2011_09_28_11-41-22

Gail and I along with Bryant Olsen were birding the Antelope Island Causeway when we spotted this Harlequin Duck. I immediately sent an email to the local birdlists. The Harlequin is extremely rare in Utah, and so the interest would be high. The twitchers would start arriving within an hour or two.

Gail and I just couldn't resist going out for another look at the Harlequin. Here is some video of it preening.

Here is a report from a local Utah birder who was probably the first to arrive at the causeway after I submitted the report.


 

Comments

Congratulations on your rare bird sighting. We've never seen on of these ducks. Our most exotic duck visitor here has been the Cinnamon Teal. Not that rare, but certainly pretty.

I like Cinnamon Teals, in fact all the Teals are pretty cool. We saw a Cinnamon Teal - Blue-winged Teal hybrid last winter, now that's one cool bird.

Great bird Norm! What a strange habitat for the Harlequin. We get a few in the winter near rock jetties along the east coast. I see them at Pt. Lookout on Long Island. Also, what great fun to find a rare bird and help other birders get to it quickly, with Twitter we have birding flash mobs in our NYC parks, Central and Prospect.

I was talking to a longtime local birder the other day and he told me that there was a Harlequin in exactly the same location back in the 90's. I believe he said it came back every year for 3 or 4 years.

The internet sure makes it easy to get the word out quickly, mostly we just email notice to a local list that everyone follows closely. Twitter would also be a good way to get the word out.

We went back out to the Island today, the Harlequin was still there, a little surprising since Duck season just started and while they can't hunt within 300 feet of the causeway the booming of the guns scares a lot of the ducks away.

We continued on to Garr Ranch which is on the island and a well known migrant trap, where we found a Varied Thrush http://www.flickr.com/photos/onegoodbird/6205443144/in/photostream not as unusual as the Harlequin, but pretty damn rare around our parts. I saw my first one last year in about the same location on an Audubon trip, and believe it was the only one reported in the state last year.

We're on a roll :)

We have twitter accounts that we use only for birding (we don't care what each other eats for breakfast) so the word gets out quickly in our urban enviornment. Also, imagine the heartbreak of returning home getting on your internet and discovering you were near a rare bird earlier in the day.

We had a Varied Thrush in Central Park in the middle of Manhattan Island all last winter. It came in late fall and stayed till the spring. Being that it's a west coast bird it was remarkably rare. Also, Antelope Island is one of my favorite places on earth.

Antelope Island is awesome, so many different habitats in one place, and it's only a 40 minute drive from where I live.

Pretty duck

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