Small dabbling duck
Medium-sized, dark bill
Pale blue shoulder patch, visible in flight
Green speculum with white leading edge
Male (winter plumage):
Blue-gray head with darker cap
White crescent on face in front of eye
Scaled buff and dark brown upperparts
Buff breast and flanks with darker spotting
White band at rear portion of flanks
Black undertail coverts
Female / Male (summer plumage):
Dark crown and eye line
Pale eye ring and loral spot
Mottled gray-brown body with darker back
Listen to its call.
I saw this duck at Summit Reservoir earlier this week surrounded by a large number of Wigeons, Mallards and Buffleheads. From what I've read, it is unusual to see one of these ducks at this time of year. Most of them are gone from the province by mid-October, having migrated to warmer climates.
Learn more about the Blue-winged Teal.
There are a number of reasons why I decided to take on this project. My first reason has to do with my interest in birds. This began shortly after moving to Victoria ten and a half years ago. With our house backing onto a wooded area, the chirping of birds is a familiar sound all year long. I often glance out the window to see birds of all forms in the yard throughout the day. Frequently I will pull out the Birds of Victoria or Birds of North America reference guides we have on hand. Unfortunately, the drawings in the first aren’t overly helpful for identification and the number of entries in the second is overwhelming. My second reason has to do with a photography course I took a number of years ago. Since that time I have been trying to think of a practical reason to buy a new camera. Taking pictures of birds requires a powerful zoom lens which my previous point-and-shoot camera could not accommodate. Perfect! My final reason was my desire to take on a new project to welcome in 2011. Hence, bird of the day was born.