Eurasian Wigeon sounds like the Moog-driven synth band you dreamed of starting in liberal arts school, but it's actually the name of a rare duck that breeds in northern Europe and Asia and winters in Africa and south Asia. That is, until last week, when one of these fancy fowls of the genus Mareca showed up in a pond on the Katy Prairie Conservancy’s Indiangrass Preserve. And, folks, he is still there, causing quite the stir among Texas birders.
Some 200 visitors have already arrived from as far away as Kerrville and Austin, hoping to get a glimpse. Bob Honig, the member of KPC’s Advisory Board who first spotted the bird, describes the prairie's temporary resident as so: “It has a vivid orange-red head and a forehead that appears blazing gold especially when the sun hits it."
In Great Britain and Ireland, the Eurasian Wigeon is common as a winter visitor, but not so much in the United States. While it might occasionally show up in the Four Corners, southern Appalachians, and less commonly on the mid-Atlantic and Pacific coasts, it is a downright rarity here in Houston.
Want to see this Eurasian Wigeon in person? Head over to the Indian Preserve, 31950 Hebert Road in Waller, open Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Fridays/Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
And if you're bonkers about birds, make sure to check out the entire Katy Prairie, comprised of 14 preserves and over 20,000 acres of protected land that's recognized as a Global Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. You'll find another 300 species of birds, along with tallgrass prairies, ranchlands, farmlands, wetlands, forests and riparian zones that our feathered friends love. Check out more information at katyprairie.org.