[Ontbirds] Fulvous Whistling-Duck? - St-Albert sewage lagoons, East of Ottawa 2nd message

Langis Sirois lsir at sympatico.ca
Thu May 1 10:22:06 EDT 2008

   Good morning.

   This   is  a  follow-up  to  my  earlier  message  about  the  Fulvous
   Whistling-Duck  seen  yesterday at the  St-Albert sewage lagoons, East
   of Ottawa.

   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
   about it?

   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.


   1. http://ca.geocities.com/larry.neily@rogers.com/sewage6.htm

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