Harlequin Duck at New Brighton, Beaver County, PA
This first-winter male Harlequin Duck on the Beaver River, first found on 28-Feb by Mark Vass, represents the first record
of this species for Beaver County. On the morning of the 29th, the bird made a close approach to the New Brighton Boat Launch
and allowed these close up photos.
This is the second first-winter male Harlequin Duck found in western Pennsylvania this year. The other (pictured here
) was photographed on the Allegheny River in Warren, Warren County, during a short stay there in the first week of February.
When I first saw the Beaver County bird, I thought it might have been the same bird as was seen in Warren, but comparison
of these photos shows that it does not appear to be the same bird. The Warren bird was further along toward looking like
an adult, with more extensive white on the face extending to the crown, and the beginnings of white markings on the back.
The Beaver bird shows less white especially above the eye, and is all dark on the back.
So, it seems there were at least two Harlequin Ducks in PA this month... how many more might be tucked away somewhere?
For those hoping to see this rarity, here
is a map detailing the bird's location during the day of the 29th.