An immature male Harlequin Duck has been present off the east end of Bate Island since January 9. This individual was first thought to be a female but closer examination revealed its an male. Most immature males I've since in January along the Ottawa or St.Lawrence rivers are more advanced than this bird. The first photo shows a slaty gray colour to the head and a whitish line along the scapulars as well as the distinctive perpendicular bar on the side of the breast. All of this will develop more over the next few months. The progressive molt in young male ducks over the winter is always quite variable in its appearance.
Harlequin ducks are very rare late fall and early winter visitors to our region. Occasionally they do overwinter.
Note the white perpendicular bar on the side of the breast.