The Wigs in the Tin

I’m guessing some of you out there were thinking this was the month, the month that the quota finally prevailed and a long coveted streak had finally come to an end.  Truth is, I’ve been on a quest as of late that has consumed my time.  The details are destined for a post, of course, but as a hint Linda and I just traveled 2,000 miles to add two new birds to my Life List.  For the non-birders out there, it is trip of chance since there is no guarantee that said bird will be in that particular area but the sheer chance of spotting it is enough to get you excited – it’s 5 parts the hunt, 3 parts spotting and 2 parts executing a shot to remember it the rest of your life.  So we packed up the RV, gathered up the poodles and headed out to Georgia last week to add two specific check marks – we’ll get to the details later, but let’s just summarize that endeavor as mission accomplished!

It is hard enough to deal with all the photography elements of the journey, but trying to get a post out at the same time makes it a little difficult.  The last post was actually done on the road along with the quick photo prep for this post.  Getting number 5 out of the way took the pressure off – just need to close out the month with our latest check addition to the Birding Life List.

American Wigeon at Chain O' Lakes State Park

As with a number of other post this month, this find was also made while birding with my brother Ron at the Chain O’ Lakes State Park.  As Ron can attest, I really do not spend a lot of time looking at the LCD screen on the back of the camera.  There are a few reasons for this, the main one being I do not want to risk missing another bird that might happen through the area.  Another reason is how hard it is to really see enough detail on that small screen to discern enough of the features to properly identify a bird anyway.  This results in a pleasant surprise from time to time when a new bird materializes while in the digital darkroom.  The birds you see are one such occasion and because I wasn’t aware of how special they were to me, I have to apologize for the execution.  The Beast has a bad habit of obscuring small obstructions in the foreground while looking through the viewfinder.  Apparently some of the long grass on the shoreline was photobombing my shot – ugh.   Guessing these birds were mistaken for Green Teals while in the field.  They are not Green Teals, but rather American Wigeons

American Wigeon at Chain O' Lakes State Park

Both the Green Teal and the Wigeon sport a green highlight on the side of their head.  The Wigeons are lighter (at least in my opinion) and has a whitish forehead.  The Greenie is much darker brown on the head and has a distinctive white vertical bar on their wings.  I did not get a lot of pictures of this species so I better get to some of those interesting facts before it is too late.  First off, they used to be referred to as Baldplates because the white patch on their forehead looked like a bald man’s head (yeah, that seems like a stretch to me as well).  They are indeed dabbling ducks that usually nest in tall grass far from the water.  Their range is fairly extensive as they migrate through the various seasons.  They spend their Summers up in Western Canada and their Winters in pretty much the lower middle of the United States.  Beyond that, Cornell’s website really didn’t have much to offer other than they do carry a Least Concern Conservation Status (yeah!)

American Wigeon at Chain O' Lakes State Park

Not much else to really say about this bird.  One thing for sure, next time I’m up in the Chain O’ Lakes area I’m going to pay more attention in hopes of getting some better shots.  If you are curious, I think the duck to the right is actually a Gadwell (hmmm maybe I do not have that one checked off either).

Time to hit the hay, got a date with pavement early in the morning – take care and see you again next month.


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