Friday, June 3, 2011

Blue-winged Teals, March Migration to Northern Illinois

Happy Anniversary! June 3. This date marks one year writing this blog - 215 posts, 725 pics, 2 cameras and 4 lenses later.  My first post was of a photo of a Scarlet Tanager on 6/3/2010 - link below...
 Thank you to everyone who has followed and commented to Northern Illinois Birder for the past year.

A pair of Blue-winged Teals, Rock Cut State Park, IL; 4/9/2011.
I have seen a lot of Blue-winged Teals (Above) this spring - at Rock Cut State Park (Rockford, IL), Nygren Wetlands Preserve (Rockton, IL), Horicon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge (Horicon, WI). They started arriving to our area in the latter half of March and some will stay in northern Illinois; however, we are on the southern edge of its summer range, as they will settle throughout all of Canada into Alaska, and cover much of the northern half of the U.S.  They will spend their winters along the Gulf Coast states and along the southern Pacific coast.

A male Blue-winged Teal with a muddy bill from feeding in the mud flats of Pierce Lake, Rock Cut State Park, IL; 4/17/2011.
Teals are generally smaller (15"-16") than most dabbling ducks. Male Blue-wings (Above) have a distinct look with its slate gray head and neck and white crescent across its face and a dark bill. Its tan flanks are speckled with dark brown, a white patch on its hip, and its trademark name - light blue coverts which are visible in flight.
A female Blue-winged Teal, Rock Cut State Park, IL; 4/23/2011,
Female Blue-wings (Above) are less distinctive and look much like a smaller version of a female Mallard with a dark bill. She has a smaller white patch at the base of her bill and a dark eye-line.

A pair of Blue-winged Teals , Rock Cut State Park, IL; 4/17/2011.

1 comment:

~Val said...

Happy anniversary!!