I just had a quick word with Ian on the phone, and neither of us had
knew of the Common Pochard until today. Let me give a sequence of
events as they happened:
Ian said "I think I've got a Redhead."
I found it in the flock and and immediately noted the peaky triangular
head shape and wondered if it might not be a Canvasback, but ruled that
out becasue the plumage was wrong and because the bill was not husky
enough. In the deepest, darkest recesses of my mind I wondered about a
Canvasback X Redhead hybrid, but didn't give it much credence. I did
note the white on the bill, but did not know what to make of it,
generally dismissed it and told Ian I agreed with him that it was a
At some point here Ian mentioned out loud about the Redhead having a
"peaky head" while relaxed.
A bit later I noticed a bird that looked like a female Scaup, but
lacked any white plumage on its face behind the bill.
I mentioned it to Ian and he saw the bird, but did not have any further
comments on it, other than it was interesting.
After some more birding, we moved to lower position at the level of the
boat ramp where Ian had re-found the Glaucous Gull. As we walked back,
we stopped again to look at the flock of ducks. I re-found that same
female without white behind the bill and noticed it was with the bird
we took to be a male Redhead. While watching I told Ian that the female
looked like it had the same body and head shape as the Redhead, and
wondered if it might be a female Redhead. We both looked in my Sibley
and noted that the bird looked dark for a Redhead female, but we both
agreed that we should look at photographs of Redhead females to see how
light they really are. When I got home, I did look at pictures and
decided the bird we saw was within the color range I could find and
based on the similar body and head shape, put it down as a female
I've put my pictures on the Vermont eBird Flickr photostream. The first
is the picture you have seen before, the second is a more blury one,
but that better shows the extent of black on the rump. The third I
believe is the bird we took for a female Redhead.
On Tue, 1 Jan 2013 14:43:57 -0500, Allan Strong <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
I just got this email from Jeremiah Trimble who ID'ed Ian and Ron's
> red-headed duck as a Common Pochard.
> -------- Original Message --------
> Subject: Common Pochard at Champlain Bridge
> Date: Tue, 1 Jan 2013 14:28:55 -0500
> From: Jeremiah Trimble <[log in to unmask]>
> To: Kent McFarland <[log in to unmask]>
> CC: Allan Strong <[log in to unmask]>, Chris Rimmer <[log in to unmask]>
> Hi all,
> Happy New Year!
> I need to follow up on the storm-petrel specimen but in an immediate
> matter, a redhead was reported today on Vermont birds along with a
> Redhead. The "Redhead" in the image is a Common Pochard! I'm not sure
> how to get the word out better than email you guys!!
> Good luck,
> On Thursday, October 13, 2011, Kent McFarland wrote:
> Hi Jeremiah,
> I have the storm-petrel specimen now in our freezer. Allan said I
> should just send it down to you. Can you give me address and days of
> week you are definetly there so I can send overnight frozen? In the
> hand it does look good (not that I'd know really, but according to
> this page with some of your photos:
> http://www.neseabirds.com/Birdsstormpetrelsseperating.htm). It has
> black feet and webbing. The only thing that is on the small end is
> total length. I think it will barely hit 7.5" when in thawed state.
> Apparently on the short end. But the legs don't come even close to
> extending past the tail. Anyhow, it does seem to fit band-rumped....
> Kent McFarland
> Conservation Biologist
> Vermont Center for Ecostudies
> PO Box 420
> Norwich, Vermont 05055
> VCE Logo
> Visit Our Pages: Facebook
> YouTube <http://www.youtube.com/user/VCE14> Blogger
> -- Jeremiah Trimble
> Curatorial Associate - Ornithology
> Museum of Comparative Zoology
> Harvard University
> 26 Oxford Street
> Cambridge, MA 02138
> phone: 617-495-2471
> fax: 617-495-5667
> email: [log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
----- End forwarded message -----