#ABArare – Common Pochard – California

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On December 20, Jeff Allen found a Common Pochard at Freshwater Lagoon in Humboldt County, California. Common Pochard is a Code 3 bird on the ABA checklist, though it is actually rather difficult to find in the ABA Area outside of Alaska where it is an uncommon but regular vagrant, primarily in the western Aleutians. This appears to be the 4th record for California and the Lower 48.

Photo: Rob Fowler

Freshwater Lagoon is the northernmost of three coastal lakes in Humboldt Lagoons State Park. The bird has been seen among a mixed flock of diving ducks, typically at the north end of the lake. The closest major metro area is San Francisco/Oakland, California. Humboldt Lagoons State Park lies about 5 and a half hours north of the cities.

As mentioned above, this is potentially either the 3rd or 4th record for California, depending on how you count a pair of birds in Orange County in 1994. California hosts the only records of this species for the Lower 48. In addition, there are records from Quebec and Saskatchewan.

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