Although I saw it that morning, the bird was quite distant and photos were a joke. Can you even pick it out in this picture?
So that was it. A really rare duck hung out for a winter. And then... December 2012. It was back. It survived the summer, where ever it went, and returned to the exact same pond at Colusa NWR. Birders rushed there again. People who hadn't seen it the first winter now had another chance. I eventually spun up to see the bird again (Colusa NWR is only a short hour drive). It was a gloomy day but the scope views of the bird were great. Here's a photo from that day:
I figured I'd go and take another look. Why not? After all, it's a Code 4 rarity almost in my backyard (ummm, no, not even close). I tried for it. No luck. Tried again. No luck. Tried a third time. Still no luck. Ok, what's the deal? Then an eBird report came in saying it was seen AWAY from the viewing platform, this time along Highway 20. Whhaa? Really? I hadn't heard of this bird being seen away from that platform ever before (or maybe I missed it in previous years?). Either way, Mr. Dettling also found it at the new alternate spot just a few days ago. Things were looking good. It was time for a fourth attempt.
I arrived at the described pull off, set up my scope, and promptly found it after about 5 minutes of looking. Granted, it WAS distant and WAS sleeping the majority of the time but I really couldn't complain. Here's a digiscoped picture of the bird sleeping on a distant dike:
Oh, and there's a ton to look at besides the Falcated. You can expect 4-5 species of geese with numbers probably in the 5 or 6-digit realm. You'll also see just about every expected duck species possible including multiple EURASIAN WIGEONS as well. Here's my checklist.
Here are some ROSS'S GEESE with some SNOW GEESE: