By the way, I was not able to find the Common Teal yesterday morning.
The teal numbers were way down from a few days ago (about 15 instead
of close to 80), but a lot of water had opened up on the east end
where there is a lot of vegetation, and a lot of the dabblers were in
there, so I could easily have missed it. I will try to check later
today and will report if I refind it. Not too many other new ducks,
either. I have seen a Tundra Swan on and off at Dryden Lake, and I
saw a single TREE SWALLOW there yesterday.
This morning we had 7 FOX SPARROWS under the feeders, digging little
holes in the snow which the other sparrows, Song and American Tree,
were taking over occasionally.
Beam Hill (for a few more weeks)
On Thu, Mar 17, 2011 at 10:51 AM, Jay McGowan jw...@cornell.edu wrote:
The teal was still there when I left at 9:45. All the ducks took
flight shortly after I posted, but luckily almost all of them settled
in again after a few minutes. When I left, the best viewing was from
Rt. 38 at Hart Road, where you can pull off on the north side or park
on Hart Road and scope from there. Most of the birds were along the
shore in the open water there, though when I first found it, the
majority of the birds were closer to George Road. In the afternoon
when the light has shifted, viewing might be better from George Road.
As I mentioned before, Common Teal is currently considered a
subspecies of Green-winged Teal, but it is still a very rare bird
around here and could well be split before long. They are common in
the Old World. I have found this form twice before at George Road,
first on 5 March 2004, when the birds was present for a few days and
then refound (presumably the same bird?) on April 25; then I found one
there again on 27 March 2007.
Although it might not stand out if you're not looking for it, this
subspecies is pretty distinctive. The most obvious character is that
instead of having the small white vertical shoulder bar of our
American subspecies, it has a long, bold horizontal white bar along
the side where the wing folds. American Green-wingeds can show some
white in this area too, but it is never as bold as on Eurasian (and
Eurasian lacks the vertical shoulder bar.) Other less obvious
characters include bolder pale edges on the face (the green mask has
bright gold edges) and a white (not buff) wing-stripe (haven't seen
today's bird in flight yet.)
Here are a few pictures I got this morning. No matter where you look
from the ducks are a little distant, so they're not great, but you can
get a good sense of it (and even compare with some Americans in some
shots.) Scroll on from this photo to see more.
Other new arrivals at George Road were a male Bufflehead and a second
I will post updates in the coming days if this bird sticks around.
Good luck if you try for it!
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