Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sibley weighs in on NJ Goldeneye

Controversy has swept through the birding community this week as disputes over a potential Barrow's Goldeneye in Somerset have heated up. Alright, so maybe that makes it sound a bit more dramatic than it has actually been.

What was at first called a female Barrow's Goldeneye (much less common than Common Goldeneye...well, duh) is now mostly agreed upon to be either a Common Goldeneye with an unusual bill color or perhaps a hybird Common/Barrow's. The female Common Goldeneye's bill in winter is dark with a yellow tip, while the Barrow's is yellow-orange (pictured below).

Photo by Len Blumin (c) 2006

The individual (seen with a flock of Common Goldeneye) has an orange-yellow bill, however other details have lead experts to believe it is not a Barrow's Goldeneye (at least not a "pure" Barrow's). David Sibley has even put forth his thoughts on the matter, and they can be found here.

Either way, it sure is fun to speculate!

No comments: