Sunday, March 11, 2012

Common Merganser (Mergus merganser)

Common Name: Common Merganser
Scientific Name: Mergus merganser
Date: March 11, 2012
Time: ~
Location: Arroyo Simi (west of First Street)
Season: Late Winter
Conditions: Clear, calm and cool; low 50s
Sex: Male and Female
Habitat: Lakes, rivers, coastal bays, and estuaries.
Status and Distribution: Considered common in North America, although a vagrant in the east. Winters as far north as there is open water. Summer range includes the Pacific Northwest, the Northeast, and Canada to Alaska.  
Notes: The Common Mergansers is reported to be a good indicator species for determining the contamination levels.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Wilson's Snipe (Gallinago delicata)

Common Name: Wilson’s Snipe
Scientific Name: Gallinago delicata
Date: February 25, 2012
Time: ~
Location: Arroyo Simi (west of Madera Road)
Season: Late Winter
Conditions: Mild, clear, and cool; high 50s
Sex: Undetermined
Habitat: Wet, grassy areas such as marshes, damp fields, the muddy edges of creeks, and other wetlands.
Status and Distribution: Common, but overlooked. Winters in southern North America to northern South America; in summer, common through the northern plains states, Canada, and Alaska.
Notes: very elusive and difficult to detect due to field markings which allow them to blend into the background.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Blue-Winged Teal (Anas discors)

Common Name: Blue-Winged Teal
Scientific Name: Anas discors
Date: March 3, 2012
Time: ~
Location: Arroyo Simi (between Madera Road and First Street)
Season: Late Winter
Conditions: Mild, clear, and breezy; low 60s
Sex: Both males and females observed
Habitat: Fresh and brackish vegetated wetlands (marshes, ponds, prairie potholes)
Status and Distribution: Common south to northern half of South America. Late spring and early fall migrant. Winters in South America, but some remain in southern states primarily in coastal regions. Population is stable or increasing.
Notes: At least four (4) Blue-Winged Teal were observed (2 male/female pairs), although it is probable that there were six (6) of the species in the arroyo this morning and possibly eight (8). Counting was difficult as the bird kept moving upon my approach.