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March 5, 2018

Rare duck species visits Fauquier County

Photo/Don Casavecchia
Rare in this area, an Eurasian Wigeon (right) visits the Clifton Institute near Warrenton on Feb. 27. With him (from left): A male American Wigeon and two female American Wigeons.
By Bert Harris

On Tuesday, February 27, the Clifton Institute, just north of Warrenton, hosted a visiting male Eurasian Wigeon.

As the name suggests, this duck is a rare visitor and the species is not known to breed anywhere in North America. Eurasian Wigeons that show up in the Mid-Atlantic are thought to breed in Iceland.

The species has only been seen in the Virginia Piedmont a handful of times. But, Clifton must be appealing to the birds, because this is third time one has showed up on the property. (The other records were in March of last year and October of 1999).

Birdwatchers flocked to Clifton to view the bird and posted their sightings on the Institute’s eBird and iNaturalist websites that the organization uses to document the species found at the field station.

The Clifton Institute is a research, education and conservation organization headquartered on a 900-acre field station in the Virginia Piedmont. The bird stayed only one day and he’s probably on his way back to Iceland!

The writer is the executive director of the Clifton Institute.
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