By Velma Presley, Greeneville Sun Living Editor
On Monday, Greenevillian Nata Jackson was in Kingsport to photograph a female Harlequin Duck (small dark fowl in the foreground) that is visiting on the Holston River, near the Riverfront Seafood Co. on Netherland Inn Road.
The duck was photographed beside a common and easily recognized Canada Goose.
The manager of the restaurant said that this Harlequin had been there about two weeks before anyone came along who could identify it and realize its rarity.
Don Miller, president of the Greeneville Chapter of the Tennessee Ornithological Society, reported that this is just the fifth time a Harlequin Duck has been identified in the entire state of Tennessee, and two of those sightings belong to Kingsport.
About 13 years ago, a young male put in an appearance.
The Harlequin population is split into east and west flocks, and are residents in the far north, mainly in Canada. While the eastern flock breeds only in Canada and seems to winter on the Eastern Seaboard, the western birds breed as far south as Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and western Montana and Wyoming.
In the winters, severe storms may drive an occasional bird further south than its species is normally sighted.
The far southern winter range of Harlequins appears to be around mid-Virginia. However, a rare “vagrant” is documented in northern Mexico. Additional photos are available by clicking PHOTOS.