Happy October, everybody! My assignment in Delft is officially half over, and I’m sorry about the recent radio silence, but I had some family events to which I wanted to give my full attention.
Anyway, the weather’s been pretty cool and wet around here for the past couple of weeks, and the forecast wasn’t great for today, so I wasn’t even sure I was going to go out this morning, but Anne gave me a nudge, so out I went. Well, I sure am glad I did, ’cause otherwise I would have missed this handsome little fella. He appears to be a Eurasian wigeon (Mareca penelope) male in eclipse plumage. Thanks, Honey!
I’ve never seen one before, as far as I know, in any plumage, but I did record seeing it’s cousin, an American Widgeon, in Estabrook Park, back on November 1, 2021.
Speaking of ducks in Estabrook, I don’t see quite as many mallards here, and they often appear to be hybridized, but this couple appeared especially nice this morning when the sun poked through the clouds. Note how much thicker his white neck band is, compared to his North American cousins, and that she has a white neck band at all.
Keeping with the duck theme, for a moment, here’s a pair of gadwalls sleeping the morning away.
Going bigger, most of the geese have bugged out, and I only saw a few stragglers instead of the big flocks foraging in the fields that I’ve seen all summer. The swans, however, are still here, especially the cygnets, who might not have even fledged yet, and may still be sporting grey feathers.
Also missing today, and probably gone until spring, are most of the shore birds, the curlews, godwits, redshanks, sandpipers, and lapwings. Instead, all I could find today was a little flock of black-headed gulls in their winter plumage.
The storks are also gone, but the grey herons are still plentiful, and if they’re anything like the great blue herons they resemble, I might get to see them all winter.
Finally, I did see one butterfly this morning, a speckled wood trying to bask in a brief moment of sunshine.
There’s more, but I’d better save some incase tomorrow is a washout.