....until my birding takes off again, with a few words about a duck!
Baikal Teal Arkive
The Baikal Teal (BT) is an extremely rare vagrant to GB, the first record in Britain was of a bird found at Fair Isle, Shetland in 1954, this bird was accepted into Category D. But a BT in Caerlaverock, Dumfries and Galloway in 1973 gave observers some ammunition they were looking for in order to claim a truly wild BT, when it was seen regularly eating goose droppings in preference to daily handouts of corn. This bird was upgraded to Category A, but after a review of BT records on file in 1993 the species was replaced in Category D.
On Saturday a stunning drake BT was found at Marshside RSPB on Merseyside and has been seen again today on Crossens Outer Marsh. The BT is a species seen as an unlikely vagrant to Britain though the likelihood of natural vagrancy can't be ignored, it is a popular bird in captivity. The possibility of vagrancy gained some strength when a first winter bird was found dead in 2005 in Denmark. Following some scientific study made on this bird there was some indication that its old unmoulted feathers had in all probability grown in the Far East, it was therefore regarded as unlikely to have been bred in captivity in Europe, although there was a remote chance this individual had been transported to the west as an immature bird and then escaped had to be taken into account.
The last five records I just checked of Baikal Teal in Britain and Ireland appear as birds in BOU/IRBC Category A.
Eurasian Teal Astland Photography
For comparison to the drake Baikal Teal, not quite as stunning, is the Teal we're most likely to see, though....
Green-winged Teal Martin Lofgren
....I've been checking through as many as possible of the 200 Teal seen at Conder Green lately to make sure none are of this species the North American Green-winged Teal.
Thanks to Peter and Susan Wilson, and Martin Lofgren for excellent images of Teal.