[Tweeters] caution Blue-winged Teal vs Cinnamon Teal ID

Philip Dickinson pdickins at gmail.com
Tue Sep 12 18:04:48 PDT 2017

Thanks, Gary. I made that mistake last year at Wylie. Today, the birds our
Pilchuck Audubon group saw there were Cinnamons.

Phil Dickinson

On Tue, Sep 12, 2017 at 5:58 PM, Gary Bletsch <garybletsch at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Dear Tweeters,


> Numerous recent eBird checklists have included sightings of Blue-winged

> Teal from the Fir Island Game Range (Wylie Slough). I think most of those

> were actually Cinnamon Teal in eclipse plumage.


> Some of those checklists include notes about ID being made on the basis of

> wing pattern--"I noted the blue wing panel" or suchlike.


> The Blue-winged Teal and the Cinnamon Teal have almost identical wings.

> They have a powder-blue patch on the upperwing, along with an emerald green

> speculum and a white stripe in between. Northern Shovellers have almost the

> exact same wing pattern, too. That's one indication of just how closely

> related these three species are; along with a handful of other species that

> are found in other lands, they were recently moved into their own genus,

> *Spatula*, separate from *Anas *(the traditional genus of dabbling

> ducks).


> I hardly ever see Blue-winged Teal in Skagit County after June. My

> personal records, dating back to the late 1980's and early 1990's, include

> a total of eleven BWTE sightings from the period of July through December.

> The last time I saw one here in the latter part of the year was 2011. Six

> of my eleven late-season BWTE sightings were from 2008, when an unusual

> number of BWTE showed up around these parts. By contrast, I have found the

> Cinnamon Teal 147 times during that same period--they are easily ten times

> more common.


> This time of year, birders could learn about this ID problem by studying

> the size and shape of the ducks' bills, the eye color, and the facial

> pattern. Almost all of the small teal on Fir Island right now are Cinnamon

> Teal and Green-winged Teal, and there are quite a few Shovellers out there

> as well. With ducks in their eclipse plumage, one must exercise caution in

> the ID.


> Yours truly,


> Gary Bletsch


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