Falcated Duck, Anas falcata
This beautiful duck, extremely rare in North America, was present at Colusa National Wildlife Refuge, north of Sacramento, during the winters of 2011-12 and 2012-13, where it was seen and photographed from the Refuge's viewing deck by hundreds of birders from far and wide, to much media attention. I saw and photographed it at a great distance in January 2012, and saw it again the next winter, on December 19, 2012, this time much closer; the pictures above and below were taken not long after sunrise on that day.
Falcated Ducks breed in eastern Siberia and Mongolia, and winter mostly in China and South-east Asia. Their beauty makes them
popular captives, and birds seen in the wild in North America were once all presumed to be escapees, but in recent years it has been recognized that a few vagrant wild birds of the species do reach the Pacific Coast. This bird has been accepted as one of these, California's third wild Falcated Duck.
This picture shows the duck lighted at a different angle, with only a small part of the green on its head iridescent. Both pictures show the long sickle-shaped ("falcated") tertials touching the water.