Monday, 17 January 2011

A Tale of Two Teal

Jenny joined me for my Coastal Bird Survey on Sunday (a week after it should have been, but better later than never, eh?) and we enjoyed the unforecasted sunshine as we trundled to Jack Point, counting as we went.
Bird-wise, it was bit on the quiet side and highlights were few. Just 3 greater scaup, 1 common loon, 3 horned grebe, 6 red-breasted merganser and 8 surf scoter were seen among the much more numerous common goldeneye and bufflehead.
Passerines were thin on the ground too, with just a few kinglets, chickadees and such to divert us from our oceanic gaze.

Later, I headed out to see what, if anything, was kicking around Quennell Lake. It wasn't much birdier there than offshore at Jack Point. A single American coot, a few shoveler, ring-necked duck, lesser scaup, mallard, American wigeon, common merganser and pintail were all seen, as were a few green-winged teal, along with the bird pictured here. It appears to be something on an intermediate between common teal and green-winged. Or is that vertical white stripe within the variable characteristics of green-winged?
Please offer any opinion, I'd love to know what others think.
A lone cackling goose was with the mass of usual Canadas and there 28 trumpeter swans present.

I headed off to the Nanaimo River estuary for the last hour and a half of daylight. A couple of hunters were returning empty-handed, and I was soon alone with what few birds were still around.
The male (pictured) and a juv female northern harrier were hunting over the marsh, but no short-eared owls emerged. 40+ trumpeter swan were out on the water's edge.


  1. Hi Jon. I am enjoying your postings about birdwatching at the Nanaimo estuary and surrounds. I may run into you there someday. It is a favourite birdwatching haunt of mine as well (although not the hail of bullets).

    Happy birding,
    Kim Goldberg

  2. Hi Kim - thanks for the kind comments!
    Hopefully the estuary will be a somewhat less stressful place to go birding after this coming weekend. The duck hunting season comes to an end, finally...
    Probably see you down there sometime!