Hudson Gardens, Oct 27 – with Chuck Aid

Gadwalls (c) Mick Thompson

It was another great morning at Hudson Gardens.  We spent a fair amount of time working on the finer details of identifying five duck species. On Gadwalls the male has the big black rump and has silver tertials (the flight feathers closest to the body), and the female though relatively drab has white secondaries that when the wing is folded against the body cause a white spot to appear on her side. 

American Wigeon female (c) Bill Schmoker
American Wigeon (c) Bill Schmoker

With American Wigeons both male and female have a light bluish-gray bill and warm, brownish flanks; the male has an obvious whitish forehead and a distinct dark green swoop through the eye area; the female has her mascara smudged around her eye. 

Mallard male (c) Bill Schmoker


Mallards we know pretty well, but don’t forget the male’s curly black tail and clean yellow bill; the female has an orange bill with the black blobby spot on top; both have white outer tail feathers.  We only got to review male Buffleheads, as we saw no females, but we noted how white they were overall, with their relatively large round heads. For Hooded Mergansers we only got to see two males, but they were beauties, and unmistakable.

Mallard female (c) Bill Schmoker






We had some great looks at a couple of Red-tails, and one flew just a few feet above us providing a nice close-up view of its underside.  The birds had some nice differences and similarities.  So, while one was more of our classic light morph western Red-tail, the other was a much lighter looking individual with almost no buffy coloration – just black streaking on white for the belly-band.


Bufflehead male (c) Bill Schmoker

We had some good migrant activity with tons of American Goldfinches all over the place, and then right when we were leaving a large flock of Cedar Waxwings moved through. Also, had a couple of Dark-eyed Juncos. 

Overall, we had numerous opportunities for really nailing down some of the finer points of bird identification, and we all came away gratified at how much smarter we had become in such a short while – deservedly self-congratulatory!

Hooded Merganser male (c) Bill Schmoker

Good birding!

Hudson Gardens, Oct 27, 2018
25 species

Canada Goose  28
Gadwall  8
American Wigeon  9
Mallard  37
Bufflehead  3
Hooded Merganser  2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  8
Ring-billed Gull  1
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Belted Kingfisher  2
Downy Woodpecker  3
Northern Flicker  12
Blue Jay  2
Black-billed Magpie  3
American Crow  4
Black-capped Chickadee  14
White-breasted Nuthatch  2
American Robin  11
European Starling  3
Cedar Waxwing  38
House Finch  9
American Goldfinch  23
Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored)  1
Dark-eyed Junco (Pink-sided)  1
Song Sparrow  1
Red-winged Blackbird  3

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