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Morning Birding Species List | February 8, 2017

Tuesday, February 8, 2017, 8AM - 11AM
Weather: Overcast
Location: Snowmass Vilage area hotspots

Species Identified
Canada Goose
Mallard
Ring-necked Duck
Green-winged Teal (pictured above)
Bufflehead
Common Goldeneye
American Coot
Wilson's Snipe

Comments:
This Morning Birding outing was a waterfowl study, focusing on local winter ducks. We took a field trip to Snowmass Village, where we observed ducks at three hotspots: Snowmass water treatment pond, Snowmass golf course ponds, and the rodeo grounds beaver ponds and wetlands. Although the species list is relatively short, we had excellent views of these ducks in different lighting conditions, doing different behaviors (resting, roosting, actively feeding, and in flight), and at close and far distances. This enabled us to practice some useful field craft for identifying ducks, such as asking yourself, 'where is the white?' and considering body shape and size. White or light-colored areas on ducks tend to be visible in all light conditions, even in diffuse, low, flat light and at far distances, whereas colors, even bright ones, can be difficult to see without direct sunlight at a good angle. Ducks usually have one or more white or light-colored areas that can be diagnostic tools, or strong clues to combine with others for a positive ID (such as habitat, behavior, color patterns, sound, and time of year). This was our main practice today, and the ducks gave us a good showing! Join us on March 7th for the next Morning Birding outing as spring and lengthening days bring about behavioral changes and the start of an early morning chorus of singing. 

~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide