A Teal of Two Halves

23.11.13. Common Teal, No 6 tank. Bill Morton

On Saturday 23rd November I was walking back to my car after a fruitful bird watch from Frodsham Score. I decided to have one last scan through the Teal flock on No. 6 tank. My attention was drawn to a drake Teal with an obvious vertical fore-flanked stripe. My immediate reaction was that it was a Green-winged Teal but I was a little concern and cautious something wasn’t quite right?

I telephoned Frank Duff and said that I was fairly sure that I had a Green-winged Teal but needed to get better views. I was watching the bird from roughly 1/4 mile away and fired off a series of images on my hand to scope digi-camera (only one was worthy of a record shot and is centre right in the image above). I needed to get off the bank and walk east along the track to get better views, during this walk the teal flock would be out of sight until I managed to get to the viewing area.¬†When I eventually got to the spot to see the Teal flock, I could not relocate the bird? There was no obvious flight of duck from the tank as they usually relocate to a secluded pool if disturbed and I would have seen them fly in from the track I was on. I was flummoxed by the assumed GWT not being present. Then my initial doubt resurfaced and I phoned Frank again to say “correction, no need to come down to the marsh after all”.

I guess that the camera can lie and from the distance I was at and the angle of the Teal it appears now to be a Common Teal displaying a combination of odd light/angle and edge of paler breast colouration appearing as a fore-flank stripe (this latter feature appears cream coloured on the picture and is much broader than it would be on a real Green-winged).

I had been watching/counting the Teal flock on the marsh all autumn and having previously found three drake (one pictured above) Green-winged Teal on the marsh in years gone by, I was hoping to add to the collection. Alas it was not to be a fourth…any comments welcome. Images below show a ‘proper’ Green-winged Teal nearly 10 years ago.

Green-winged and European Teal, No6 tank, Frodsham Marsh, 23rd April 2004, 2

The above image shows well the fore-flank stripe on the GWT (upper bird) and the obvious vertical upper flank stripe on a Common Teal.

I sent the image to Tony Broome and Frank and they equally concurred with my initial cautiousness. It’s not the first time I’ve sent them images of odd-looking ducks and asked them to make a comment (and probably not the last).

Below images of a Frodsham Marsh GWT. All images by WSM.

Green-winged Teal, No6 tank, Frodsham Marsh, 23rd April 2004...

Green-winged Teal, No6 tank, Frodsham Marsh, 23rd April 2004

Green-winged Teal, No6 tank, Frodsham Marsh, 23rd April 2004, 8