Species Identification Confidence:
I'm absolutely certain
Observed pair loafing and preening on mid-stream boulder in Panther Creek. Suspect pair was in-migrating to breeding site on one of the Panther Creek tributaries. Location is just downstream from the Blackbird Mine, which is a federal Superfund site. Several diagnostic photos and video were taken and are available from Salmon Region wildlife biologist Beth Waterbury or conservation officer Dane Cook. IDFG and Salmon Region database indicates that this is the first verified record of harlequin duck in Panther Creek proper.
From North Fork, Idaho, turn west on the Salmon River Road (Forest Road 30); drive 25 miles downriver; turn left (south) onto Panther Creek Road (Forest Road 55); drive south for approx. 24 miles to just below confluence of Blackbird Creek (0.4 mile below creek).
Idaho Batholith Ecosection; black cottonwood/willow/ponderosa pine riparian area; ponderosa pine/Douglas-fir forest to south and east; scree slopes to north and west. Location is just below Blackbird Mine - a federal Superfund site. Observation timeframe is before peak spring/summer flows.
Game Management Unit:
May 4, 2013, 9:00 pm to 9:30 pm MDT