Total ABA Species Recorded During 2010 - 731

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Exotic Waterfowl

Joyce and I got started toward Pea Island NWR on the Outer Banks of NC at a pretty reasonable time.  There was very little traffic.  As we were crossing the Albemarle Sound bridge, I called Audrey Whitlock, who has been keeping track of the White-cheeked Pintail to see if she could join us.  She was in the midst of packing up for a fishing tournament at Hatteras, but would try to meet up with us later.  When we got to the refuge visitor's center and got out of the car, we discovered how strong the wind was.  It was probably blowing about 25mph and became a real nuisance in our search for the duck.  Chris Hitt, he of the lower-48 big year, was already there and reported that he hadn't found it yet.  We looked together from the platforms where it had been seen this week, but in two hours of careful scanning, we didn't find it.  Audrey called and said she was heading down to help us search.  She scanned from the road which had a better sun angle, but didn't find the duck either.  We were all getting a little hungry, so we adjourned to Whalebone Junction for lunch at Sugar Creek and Audrey continued looking.  We had no more than ordered when Audrey called to say the bird was in sight.  Chris and I left Joyce at the table and hurried back to glimpse the bird.  Audrey had left, but on the platform was Fred Alsop, a long-time friend, and his class from East Tennessee State University who were keeping track of the duck.  They also were viewing a Eurasian Wigeon.  Then it was back to meet up with Joyce who had gotten our meals as takeouts.  We dined in the comfort of our cars and Chris headed back home and Joyce and I went back to Pea Island where I tried to get a photo of the pintail (photo).  The sun angle was terrible, so I only modestly succeeded.  Whether I count this duck on my year's list depends on whether the NC bird record committee votes to accept the record as being of a wild bird and not an escape (exotic).  That vote probably won't be for awhile.  In the meantime I won't hold my breath.


  1. Aie! I can just see you guys sitting at the table as the phone rings - and can just imagine Joyce's expression as it's ringing! What a good sport! Glad that duck finally came through. Hope you can recharge at home for a bit and enjoy this fine weather.

  2. Hi Bob,
    I thoroughly enjoy your blog and check in daily to hear of your adventures (well, almost daily)...anyway, I live in Norfolk and am not actively birding and have a scope you are welcome to use for as long as you is or call 757-679-6558 if you're interested.

  3. There has been a fair amount of discussion on this bird on the local listserv, including some from BRC members and my impression is that the NC committee is not likely to count the bird, or at least they'll punt to "unknown origin" category and let it sit there for years.

    I'd count it, as there's really no obvious evidence to suggest it's a captive bird. And if the BRC is going to reject it, they're going by really subjective characteristics at this point.