sunwendyrain:Fulvous  Whistling Duck #234*He gets an asterisk…


Fulvous  Whistling Duck


He gets an asterisk because this one is a super-rarity that needs to be reviewed and approved by the California Bird Records Committee. Not that I saw the bird; no one cares about that except me. But whether or not the bird is countable.

The way it works with a rare bird is, the bird is countable if it got where you saw it without human help. So, if the Fulvous Whistling-Duck that showed up in Santa Barbara yesterday is an escaped captive (possible; people like to keep exotic ducks as pets, and sometimes they get away), he doesn’t count. He has to be a wild duck that got there under his own power.

The CBRC can take months to reach a conclusion on that question. In the meantime, people who care about their list rush out to see the bird just in case. That’s what I did, this morning before dawn, trekking out to Lake Los Carneros where people were seeing the duck all day yesterday, excitedly filling up the mailing list and posting to eBird about it, and all the while there was nothing I could do because it was my once-every-two-weeks day when I commute to L.A. to schmooze with the rest of the team.

Fortunately he stuck around. I was camped out on the edge of the lake before sunrise this morning, and I’m pretty sure I actually saw the bird circling overhead with a group of mallards before the sun came up. It was pretty dark and I could only see the silhouette, but it looked good, with the long neck and slender wings, and the bird vocalized several times with the whistle that (at least according to my Sibley app) is what the male duck sounds like. I lost sight of him when he dropped back down onto the lake, but a short while later when it was light out another birder found him and pointed him out to me.

Yay! (Assuming he counts.) But he’s a super-cool bird either way.

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Tags: birds, carp without cars, santa barbara county year list, fuwd.

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