So easy to overlook!!

Kaaren Perry

How many times have we spotted a bunch of Mallards, ticked-off  "Mallards" and then walked on.  Last June, Tom Edell posted a notice that the Mexican Duck had been added to the AOU list as a full species.  Here is the link to this previous post worth revisiting:,,,20,0,0,0::Created,,Mexican+duck,20,2,0,75224027

So why bring this up again?  Well another record of Mexican Duck is now up for review, this time in Orange County.  This duck was found this past week by Jim Pike in a neighborhood park with many other Mallards.  Wouldn't it be fun to be the one to find the second SLO county record?  (First one found by Curtis Marantz in San Luis Obispo, Dec. 2018 during a Christmas Count.)  Though a very rare vagrant, I wonder if we don't have one or two around but just are not prepared to pick out the different one.  I was out this morning looking at Mallards! 

May I suggest if you're interested, take a look at photos and be ready to spend a little time looking through our local Mallards.  The two reported over the past few years in California have been adult males.  To me, these male Mexican Ducks closely resemble female Mallards except for a few defining differences covered in guidebooks and other waterfowl references and Jim's comments below.   Check Calbirds and probably ebird for additional photos and information on this OC bird.  

Jim's post yesterday from 1/29 to OCBirding indicates this bird is being considered by the reviewing experts as a "fine example of a Mexican Duck."

Here is the initial post by Jim Pike to OrangeCountyBirding on his reported potential Mexican Duck to give us some ideas on what to look for and link to photos:  

Pato Mexicano 
From: James Pike
Date: Tue, 26 Jan 2021 17:11:42 PST 

Just over a week ago, the California Bird Records Committee (CBRC) voted to add the Mexican Duck (recently split from Mallard) onto the state review list. Yesterday, I encountered a bird at Carr Park (Heil/Springdale) in Huntington Beach that looked awfully good for one, barring potential concerns of introgression of Mallard genes. Ideally, the tertials on this bird would exhibit less gray, but I think most everything else looks suitable for the species. In Peter Pyle’s view, it is an adult male, lacking a green-tinged cap as is found in some hybrids. The buff color of the head and neck is sharply demarcated from the darker breast; there is no solid black on the uppertail or undertail coverts, nor is there a noticeable upward curl to the elongated central uppertail coverts, as is often found in hybrids; plus, the rectrices are dark-centered rather than being substantially whitish, as in Mallards. Initial feedback on the bird has been encouraging, although I’m still awaiting word from others that are far more familiar with this ‘new’ species than I am. Unfortunately, I visited the park twice today, looking through at least 75 Mallards in the afternoon, without refinding it.

Kaaren Perry
Morro Bay

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