Fine bit of work from Neill Hunt today, with the discovery of a young male Blue Winged Teal on the Junction Pool at Marshside.
With typical sangfroid, Neill describes his find - possibly only the third for Lancs, and certainly the first for Marshside:
"John, not a lot to say about the finding of it!
"Got out the car with Trops, walked over to the flaps, saw the duck, told Trops 'this ain't no Garganey' suggested it was a Bluey.
"Dave Gaunt arrived and agreed with ID.
Thanks for the pix Neill, certainly enough to earn the man a new nickname - "Er Neill" no longer (he hates that one), from now on "Teal Hunt" (geddit?).
It'll do till we work out a better printable one.
Managed to get down to the marsh for 15 minutes on a late lunch in the rain in time to see the arse end of the thing disappear into the vegetation at the far side of the pool, but had to leave before it reappeared, if indeed it did.
Apparently it had the hots for Shovelers - and who wouldn't with a bill like that? - so if you're looking for the Yankee check out the big noses.
I'd be surprised if its gone far in this weather.
Clearly much greyer and colder toned than the eclipse Garganey that were on the pool a few weeks ago, with a HUGE loral spot, and lurvely wing pattern.
Excellent Neill, and he's just sent me his grown up account of the bird for the county recorders....
"Neill Hunt, Paul Thomason:
Blue Winged Teal, Marshside Marsh RSPB, 16th September 2012. 12.30pm. Weather, overcast, drizzle, South Westerly wind force 3. Wind from the west, strong, for several days prior, before this west , s/west for several weeks
The wingbar shows the bird to be a male, see open wing shot.
Arrived at Marshside 12.30 and checked the Junction Lagoon, as soon as I scanned the pool I noticed a smaller female type duck amongst the reeds towards the rear of the pool. From the initial views I thought it would be a Garganey, but, as I scoped the bird it was immediately evident that it was not. I suspected it to be a BWT, so got Paul onto it. Dave Gaunt arrived and agreed on ID. Put news out and many locals arrived and agreed. (G Clarkson, B McCarthy, T Baker et al)
The bird in general was associating with a small group of Shoveler, obviously smaller than these, but slightly larger and significantly longer billed than nearby Teal.
The head pattern shows an obvious broken eyering, dark eyestripe and large pale loral spot which merged into the face rather than being 'bordered'. The overall colouring of the of the head was darker and 'smoother' than Teal. The bill appeared all dark, fairly long and slightly spatulated. From head on the bird appeared to show a faint 'Broad billed sand ' type split super, something I've never noticed before. (see pic) however the water droplet might be exaggerating this. The eye is black.
Legs orangey yellow.
The open wing showed the coverts to be a rich 'sky' blue, losing intensity on the way up to the lessers. This was bordered to the rear by a brilliant white (greater covert?) bar. The speculum was dark greeny blue, darker than Teal and showed no white trailing edge to the wing. The hand was plain.
The tertials were dark, long, sharp and fresh, they had very narrow neat off white coloured edges and pale shafts.
The breast was paler than the rest of the body and heavily spotted, the flank markings had pale edged 'horse shoe crescent' markings showing all dark centres to the feathers.
Tail was relatively plain (no white sides) like teal.
The upper and undertail coverts/vent heavily spotted.
I think this is a juv male Blue Winged Teal"
Further down the coast hirundines on the move at Ainsdale through the drizzle today, with parties of Mipits and a reasonable roost of 104 Sandwich Terns before high tide.
Massive flock of Common Scoter out on the horizon earlier on - impossible to say how many birds, certainly hundreds, otherwise it was wader roosts and injured Sanderlings all the way.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...