A Rare Bird Sighting: Barrow’s Goldeneye

Barrow's Goldeneye

Barrow's Goldeneye at the Montlake Fill

Yesterday afternoon, with just an hour or two of daylight left, I headed to the Montlake Fill to look for the Barrow’s Goldeneye that Fill-expert Connie Sidles had reported. According to her, this bird has been sighted at the Fill only five times in 117 years (it generally winters along rocky coasts).

I asked the first group of birders I met if they had seen it. They indicated it had been far out in the water with a “raft” of hundreds of other birds.

A bit discouraged, I continued to walk in search of other birds. I was about to return to my car when I thought I might as well check out the original location where Connie had seen the bird—a narrow slough not far from where I stood.

Barrow's Goldeneye

Barrow's Goldeneye, a rare sighting for the Fill.

Voila! There was the Goldeneye, in full mating plumage, quite solitary and quite close to the trail. Each time he dove, I raced over to where I thought he’d emerge. The strategy paid off with these photos.

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