This Sunday the 11th, I did a Coastal Waterbird Survey at Kitsilano beach.
When I got there, there were the usual crows and gulls, and a mixed flock of Common and Barrow's Goldeneye near shore. There were a few juvenile males with the white crecents on their face not quite developed, so they looked a bit unusual. Further out there was a lone Western Grebe, a couple of Common Loons, and a Double-crested Cormorant that flew by. A pair of Bufflehead were foraging near shore, and a few Trumpeter Swans flew high overhead, migrating north. A while later a Red-throated Loon swam by, and there was a small group of Surf and White-winged Scoters. The most interesting bird popped up about 150 meters offshore at the beginning of my count. It was a small duck, with clean white sides and a black back like a Bufflehead, black tail and tail coverts like a Goldeneye, a black shoulder spur, white neck and face, and black bill, eyes, chin, crown, and nape. I think it is a Bufflehead x Barrow's Goldeneye hybrid. It looked like a male, but I think that if a female hybrid hatched, she would look like a male because hybrids have reduced fertility, and infertile female birds can take on the appearance of a male. That's just a hypothesis, though.
I didn't bring my camera, but I made a quick drawing to show what it looked like. I think it's interesting that the hybrid had a face pattern that wasn't like either parent, neither of them has a white cheek.
Else Mikkelsen, Vancouver