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Cloverdale Reveille
Cloverdale, California
February 1, 2012     Cloverdale Reveille
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February 1, 2012

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PAGE 14--WEDNESDAY, FEB. 1,2012 CLOVERDALE REVEILLE CLOVERDALE, CALIFORNIA Birding group, has successful trip to to see Falcated Duck at Col usa NWR Wildlife Refuges. Redbud Audu- bon hosts this trip every year, and anyone who wants to attend is welcome, but this particular trip saw only Redbud Audubon members heading out on the adventure. After a rainy start, they were greeted with clear and dry weather in the valley. The first stop was the Colusa NWR which is a right turn off of Highway 20 east. The Colusa NWR, like the Sacramento NWR, is a great place to bird this time of year. After parking, the group headed out to the viewing plat- form where numerous other folks were gathered to hopefully see the famous duck. Even if he didn't turn up there were thousands of By Roberta Lyons A group of intrepid birders traveled to the Sacramento Valley recently to catch a glimpse of the now-famous (among birders anyway) Falcated Duck that has been seen at the Colusa National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). The group's mission was accomplished and a day of birding in a clear and dry Sacramento Valley was enjoyed. It was a stormy Saturday in Lake County, with rain deluging everyone as they scrambled into cars to carpool over to the valley. This was a birding trip sponsored by the Lake County Redbud Audubon Society to both the Colusa and Sacramento National Greater White:fronted Geese, Snow Geese, Pintails, Widgeons, and different species of Teal to view, making the trip worthwhile. As the group arrived at the platform, they were met by several other birders, scopes trained on the floating ducks and geese waiting for the Falcated Duck to emerge from behind a small island. He was there; many had already seen him that day, but it required a short wait before he decided to swim back in to view. Suddenly, there was murmuring of "there he is," and "I've got him in my scope, come look," and soon everyone had a chance to see the extraordinary duck. The Falcated Duck is so named because of its sickle shaped tertial feathers; they turn down, instead of up. It is a native of Asia, found in China and Siberia and is rarely found in North America. It is a beautiful duck, with the male sporting a distinctive iridescent bronze and green head and white throat. It does rang e in the spring and fall in the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands, according to The National Audubon Society's pocket guide to North American Waterfowl. Birders are a friendly group, and while at the NWR, Redbud Audubon members met the fellow who first "discovered," the Falcated Duck last December: Dan Tankersley of Sacramento, a member of the Sacramento Audubon Society. Birders from Texas and New Hampshire were also on the platform; they were folks who had been on birding adventures across the United States; upon learning of the sighting at Colusa from the internet, they headed there especially to see the duck. Not even a harmless duck is without controversy, however, and according to long-time Lake County birder, Darlene Hecomov- ich, there still needs to be some decisions made on whether the Falcated Duck can be considered an authentic sighting. The Califor- nia Birds Records Committee (CBRC) will decide, based on various evidence, if the bird is truly wild or an ,."esca P ed:tic;".Z - from someone s private '4J perhaps. If the CBRC determ the sighting is a valid one then the two organizations that maintain checklists for North America: the American Birding Association (ABA) and the American Ornithol- ogists' Union (AOU) will also vote on whether to accept it and add it to their lists. As Darlene, says: "It sometimes takes years before a decision is made." However, a Falcated Duck was seen in Califor- nia 10 years ago at Honey Lake in Lassen County; a similar discus- sion ensued, and it ended up as an accepted sighting, Darlene reports. So, as far as most local Audubon- ers are concerned - we got the duck! After a good hour of viewing and photographing, the Redbud Audubon group headed up to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, which is further north off of Highway 5. There they were greeted by the sight of two American Bald Eagles displaying a type of breeding behavior where one eagle flies upside down under the other one, then they grasp their talons together and tumble down to the earth like eagle acrobats. It was an amazing sight and was just the start of a good three hours of "birding" the refuge and enjoying the geese, dabbling ducks and a rarely seen Blue-winged Teal. All in all the group saw 55 species of The Falcated Duck is a native of Asia, and rarely seen in America. birds and wildfowl that day. There are numerous Audubon Societies in the State of California. Cloverdale is most likely consid- ered to be a part of Madrone Audubon - a very active society in Getting the duck in their scopes. on the viewing deck at the Colusa National Wildlife Refuge. Sonoma County. Redbud Audu- :" bon members welcome all visitors i on their field trips as do other : societies, so check out websites to . discover the an interesting field ", trip near you. I I a g i | | H i I Ili I Join the Playen Club and you will receive: I $10 FOOD VOUCHER & I A FREE SWIPE AT $500 IN SLOT PLAY! I WWW.SHOKAWAH.COM Just off Hwy 175; J ml/es east of Hwy fOr 707-485-0700 5 miles North of Ukiah on Hwy 101, West Road Exit