Last evening I got a report that Nick Lethaby had seen a female Common Merganser in the UCSB Lagoon. I need that bird. Like many birds with the name "Common", the Common Merganser is not very common around here - at least along the coast. The only ones I have ever seen in Santa Barbara County have been in the Santa Ynez river valley.
So this morning I headed out to the UCSB Lagoon, and I must say it was downright COLD on the way there. I arrived at the lagoon and began scanning through the many waterbirds there. It was not until I got around to the west arm of the lagoon did I find any mergansers. There were about 2 dozen Red-breasted Mergansers. I tried to find the one that looked different, but they all looked pretty similar. The photos of these species in the Bird ID app on my phone were not particularly helpful.
I found one that seemed to stay away from the others and looked a little different to me. I sent a photo off for Nick to review. I didn't really think it was a Common, but it was all I had to go on. Nick sent me a reply confirming my doubts that the bird in the photo was in fact a Red-breasted Merganser. But the good news was that he had seen the Common Merganser earlier in the morning at Devereux Slough!
So I pedaled over there ASAP, and sure enough there was the female Common Merganser! And yes, the difference in appearance between it and the nearby Red-breasted Mergansers was totally obvious. They were even polite enough to pose for photos right next to each other. Common Merganser is added to the list at #281!
Some photos from today:
Common Merganser (Female)
Common Merganser (Top), Red-breasted Merganser (Bottom)
After the addition of this 1 species, the year's total stands at 281
The Score: Vermont 276, Green Big Year 281
Today I rode a total of 30.4 miles