All Photos posted on this blog unless otherwise noted were taken by me with my Canon Rebel XTI using a 300 mm zoom lens

Saturday, November 3, 2012

November 2012 Bird of the Month, Common Goldeneye

Common Goldeneye are common on the Great Salt Lake wetlands during winter. This picture was taken at Kaysville Pond. Kaysville Pond is a great place each winter to see Common Goldeneye, Ring-necked Ducks and one of the few places in Northern Utah to see Hooded Merganser. In this picture you can see Common Goldeneye, Hooded Mergansers and Gadwalls.
Common Goldeneye nest in Canadian forests and winter throughout most of the United States. They are abundant at Farmington Bay.

Male common Goldeneyes have blackish iridescent green heads with a white circular patch between the eye and the base of the bill. The breast, sides, belly and patch across the secondaries and secondary wing coverts are white. The back, rump and upper tail coverts are black and the tail is grayish-brown. The bill is black and the legs and feet are yellowish. 

The common goldeneye, like the Barrow's Goldeneye, is named for its brilliant yellow iris. This picture of a pair of Common Goldeneye and a pair of Barrow's goldeneye was taken on the Jordan River in Salt Lake County. Barrow's Goldeneye are uncommon in Utah and this was a great sighting for me.
Female common goldeneyes have chocolate brown heads, a whitish neckband, and speckled gray back and sides. The upper wings are brownish-black with the middle five secondaries colored white. The bill is blackish, becoming yellow near the tip, and the legs and feet are yellowish.
This side by side picture of a male Barrow's Goldeneye and a Common Goldeneye shows the field marks that help identify them. The male Barrow's Goldeneye has an iridescent purple head with a large white crescent on its face while the Common Goldeneye had an iridescent dark green head with a round white mark. Both are in my opinion some of the most beautiful waterfowl.
Common goldeneyes fly in small compact clusters, with their wings making a distinctive whistle at every wing beat.
Common goldeneyes use brackish estuarine and saltwater bays and deep freshwater habitats in the winter and dive to feed on a wide variety of available animal life. They feed on aquatic insects, crustaceans and aquatic plants, that makes the Great Salt Lake a perfect winter habitat for the Common Goldeneye.