viernes, 16 de diciembre de 2011

Blue-winged Teal 2

 Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors)

On November 30, a female Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors) was found at an irrigation pond in Las Martelas. The duck was observed and photographed on December 1 and 2, and then disappeared from the area...either to continue its migration, or simply to find itself a new pond in another part of the island.

After thorough searching, and repeated visits to the same location in Las Martelas, I was pretty convinced that the duck had left La Palma for good. However, on December 13, the individual shown in the present post turned up at the same spot, and the question immediately arose as to whether this was the the first bird which had returned, or a complete newcomer...

My first impression was that the new bird's plumage appeared to be more contrasting, with a more conspicuous dark stripe behind the eye, and a very obvious pale loral patch, clearly visible in all light conditions. 

 Female Blue-winged Teal together with Coot

In an attempt to settle the doubt, I have been comparing photographs, trying to judge the amount of blue and white on the upper wings, and to assess other relevant plumage details. As regards behaviour, the present bird seems equally at ease within the confines of its man-made pond, dabbling placidly across the surface at a respectful distance from the Coots (Fulica atra), preening itself both in and out of the water, and taking the occasional nap in the middle of the basin.

The following images highlight various aspects of the bird's plumage...

My final verdict, without conclusive photographic evidence to the contrary, is that this is the bird first observed on November 30 - but where it spent the 11 days between December 2 and December 13 remains a mystery...

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