[Ontbirds] Fulvous Whistling-Duck? - St-Albert sewage lagoons, East of Ottawa 2nd message
lsir at sympatico.ca
Thu May 1 10:22:06 EDT 2008
This is a follow-up to my earlier message about the Fulvous
Whistling-Duck seen yesterday at the St-Albert sewage lagoons, East
I went to the lagoons yesterday to check for shorebirds which had made
a good showup on Sunday as reported by David Britton. I arrived
at about 6:00PM. It was very windy and cold, and viewing conditions
looked bad; but I had not driven that distance to quit; so I put on
all the clothes I had in the car and walked on.
As I arrived at the first lagoon I scanned the water and surroundings;
standing on the grass on the bank of the further away lagoon
(south-West) was an orange brownish looking bird along side of a male
Mallard; I thought it looked too colourfull for a female Mallard and
it seemed to have a rather long neck. As I walked between the 2 rows
of lagoons I looked again and was able to eliminate all red head
ducks, but never thought of the possibility of a Fulvous
What I could see of the bird was the head, neck, breast and side. The
head, neck and breast looked plain orange-brown; the beak was dark,
sharply contrasting with the head; the top of the head looked flat;
the neck was long and held straight; I noted some markings in the
middle of the neck, someting like light stripes; I could see some
white on the side of the body but was not sure if that was real white
or some type of distortion.
When I arrived at the South end of the path between the two rows of
lagoons, I looked again; I could only see the neck and head, but
enough to puzzle me further; there were a couple female Pintails a few
meters away; although the shape of the neck and head looked similar,
the female Pintails were much paler than the mystery bird; there were
also female Mallards nearby to compare with.
I tried to walk around the lagoon to have a full view of the bird, but
it took off with 3 male Mallards; whille they were flying I could see
that the mistery bird was noticably smaller than the Mallards; it
looked all dark, with uniformly dark wings; I failed to note if there
was a contrast between the belly and wings; the tail looked long with
no apparent white, but the birds were far away and what looked like
long tail might have been the feet.
Why did I put an interrogation mark after Fulvous Whistling-Duck in my
first message? Because while I was there I never thought of that
possibility; I elimininated all other possibilities and left
with questions in my head. What was I missing? Was that bird some
type of hybrid?
My hands were so cold that I could not write anything; I wrote notes
after I came home and decided to pass all the ducks and geese in
review using the Sibley; when I got to the Fulvous Whistling Duck, I
immediatly said to myself: that is the bird I saw; why did I not thnk
I wanted to go back this morning in the hope to find it again before
posting, but I cannot imagine any other possibility for this bird,
unless it was an hybrid Mallard-Fulvous Whistling-Duck (nothing of a
Mallard in what I was able to see).
I regret not to have better details, but the alternative would have
been not to report the sighting...
Good luck to anybody who will try for it.
Langis Sirois, Ottawa
For directions again: Larry Neily's excellent website, page
PS numerous species of ducks on the lagoons; shorebirds included
Dunlin, Pectoral and Least sandpipers.
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