22 February 2011

Dabbling Duck

 I took a quick spin down to Eglwys this afternoon to see if the Lesser Scaup was still present. There was no sign of her today but, there were a variety of dabbling duck that aren't often seen all together on the reservoir. The photo above shows 4 Gadwall(right) and 8 Wigeon. Also a pair of Teal, not shown, were nearby.
One of the female Wigeon was a much paler than the other two and which made me watch it a bit closer. Having not seen American Wigeon for a long time and never before in this country I was not well prepared for the key distinguishing features. One feature I was aware of was the white auxillaries which the bird can show during a wing flap.
The camera was on when it did flap its wings and although I was able to take the below shot I wasn't able to see it for myself. A little while later I had a look at it again on the way out. The light was much poorer this time but, I did manage a quick glimpse of the auxillaries which looked much paler than the other female Wigeon that were also flapping a bit!
The photo that I took doesn't show too well how clean the auxillaries were but, it does show, quite nicely, the dark greater coverts which would be pale on an American Wigeon. Other pointers would include greyer plumage, darker feathering around the eye and dark base to the bill, all of which this bird does not show!

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