Common Goldeneye

Just before my recent trip to Santa Rosa I was asking John if he had seen any Common Goldeneyes, because all I had been seeing lately was Barrow’s Goldeneyes. When I started birding not long ago I thought I was much more apt to see Common Goldeneye than Barrow’s Goldeneye. In fact, I had considered it a treat to finally see a Barrow’s Goldeneye. He replied that he had seen some, though not as many as he’d seen Barrow’s Goldeneye.

Strangely enough, I spotted a Common Goldeneye on Spring Lake in Santa Rosa, the first I could remember ever seeing there. There was actually a pair of them, but I didn’t manage to get a shot of the female as she ducked under the water every time I pointed a camera their way.

male Common Goldeneye

The first time I returned to Theler Wetlands after my California visit I spotted a Goldeneye out on the river,

male Common Goldeneye

and, sure enough, it turned out to be a male Goldeneye.

Just to make sure that I didn’t fail to make their notice, I saw two more at Port Orchard, quite close to the parking area.

male Common Goldeneye

I wonder whether they’d always been there all along and I had just missed them, if they’d been gone but recently returned, or whether I had somehow conjured them up. It’s surprising how often you see something once you start looking specifically for it. I did notice, though, that the Common Goldeneye were almost always alone or a single pair unlike the small flocks of Barrow’s Goldeneye I’ve been seeing regularly at Port Orchard and locally on Ruston Way.