Graham James's picture

Unidentified duck

Observed: 7th December 2011 By: Graham JamesGraham James’s reputation in BirdsGraham James’s reputation in BirdsGraham James’s reputation in Birds
3 (Medium)
2 (Medium)
1 (Medium)
Description:

With Teal, Garganey-like supercilium, white loral spot visible at some angles, chestnut breast, unlike Teal.

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

ophrys's picture

Garganey

The bold face pattern on the second picture does look good for Garganey, with a clear loral spot and very pale supercilium. The loral spot, as you say, does not look at all clear in the first picture, though. There is no real sign of a dark mark across the cheeks, but that could be age-related.

Interested to see what others say. Some Teal can be quite well marked, but not usually as much as this bird. Not a bird I see very often, though.

Ian
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My Flickr photos...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/52163027@N02/

Graham James's picture

unidentified duck

Amongst the local birders there have been several suggestions as to its identity including Garganey, Garganey hybrid, aberrant-plumaged Teal and juvenile Baikal Teal.

ophrys's picture

Agreements

Yes...I can see why that is the case. The pictures are good, but don't give a clear view of size, position in the water or the tail. Those would help to make a decision.

I think the agreements above have missed the point, by the way!

Ian
_________________

My Flickr photos...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/52163027@N02/

Graham James's picture

unidentified duck

One birder has suggested that it appears to be a first-winter male Garganey with staining on the breast. Unfortunately, one of the other local birders took the photos above and I have failed to find the bird myself this morning.

Graham James's picture

unidentified duck

The bird was seen again this afternoon and the general opinion is that it is an adult male Garganey in eclipse plumage. Apparently, Garganey remains in eclipse plumage much longer than other dabbling ducks and does not attain full plumage until mid-winter.

BirdTrack's picture

Grid reference correction

According to the Surrey Wildlife Trust website (and the OS Map), the correct grid reference for Spynes Mere is TQ 307 524

BirdTrack Organiser
www.birdtrack.net

RoyW's picture

Adult male - or 1st winter?

I would agree that this is a male Garganey, but is it an adult male that is just starting to come out of the supplementary plumage that follows eclipse, or is it a 1st year male that is just starting to show signs of adult plumage - both are possible at this time.
If the 1st photo shows the bird properly, the belly does not appear to contrast at all with the breast. This would be expected in a 1st winter bird (the belly is mottled in juvenile plumage), but an adult would be expected to show a contrastingly white belly.

Graham James's picture

Garganey

Thank you all for your comments. The bird is still present today and hopefully more photos will be taken of it.