Having taken a couple of days off from our chicken-sitting, we have had a wonderful time at Caerlaverock, the Wildfowl and Wetland Site on the north bank of the Solway Firth. It was a delight to watch our smallest Duck, the Teal, whose beautiful green wing-patches give rise to the colour-name teal. The males also have fascinating markings on their heads (see photos) and beautiful patterning on their bodies. A small
Male Teal, preening
Pair of Teal
Male Teal and Mallard, to compare the size
number nest in the uplands of the UK but the big flocks to be seen on wetlands, estuaries, gravel-pits etc in many parts of the UK in the winter are largely winter migrants, many flying in great distances from Siberia and the Baltic. Dabbling ducks, their collective name is ‘a spring’, from their ability to fly off suddenly and almost vertically if disturbed. Conditions: Cloudy but dry spell after much rain and hail. Temperature: Max 7 Min 1C.
Teal- if you have difficulty telling different ducks apart, the Teal is a good one to start with. At this time of year the Teal come further South, and West, from their moorland breeding places, and populations get boosted by arrivals from the Baltic and Siberia. These lovely dabbling ducks can therefore be seen, often in large groups, on estuaries and shallow scrapes and bodies of water, noisily sifting for seeds and small invertebrates. Teal are much smaller than Mallard, and even the female has the
Male Teal in winter plumage- colours are brighter in breeding Teal
Teal- a group resting, which they do a lot!
Teal- male and female dabbling for small imvertebrates
Teal- male feeding
stunning green wing patch but the males have very distinctive head markings and a triangle of cream at the back of their small bodies. Conditions: The mild, sunny spell continues, with colder times forecast over the weekend, so we will be getting our tender plants in. Temperature: Max 14 Min 8C.