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April 7, 2017

The Teal Called Northern Shoveler

Read this and the next two entries to see how Northern Shoveler (above photo) is a teal, very closely related to Blue-winged Teal and Cinnamon Teal.  The bright blue leading edge of the inner wing is only visible on the lower male duck on the right side of the photo.  Compare with the wings of Blue-winged Teal and Cinnamon Teal in the following two posts to see how they have the same wing pattern and are closely related.

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April 7, 2017

The Other Teals

In Colorado there are three ducks with teal for a last name, Cinnamon Teal, Blue-winged Teal, and Green-winged Teal.  But, common names don’t always tell the whole story. Green-winged Teal is not a true teal but Northern Shoveler is, so the three closely related Colorado teals are, Cinnamon (see next entry) Blue-winged Teal (photograph above) and somewhat surprisingly Northern Shoveler.  But, if we look at the wing of the three teals, Cinnamon, Blue-winged, and Northern Shoveler, we see that all

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April 4, 2017

What Color Is A Cinnamon Teal?

Finally a bird name that describes the bird to a “T”, that is until they molt and loose their cinnamon coloration.  Cinnamon Teal are monogamous staying with the same mate throughout the summer breeding season.  Just before they fly, they perform a side-to-side head shake and sometimes lift both wings to prepare for their almost vertical takeoff, something all dabbling duck are able to do.  It and the Ruddy Duck are the only two duck species to have both a

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March 3, 2017

King of the Ducks

Named by Alexander Wilson, Aythya valisineria, the species name is also the species name for the plant wild celery, a favored food item of Canvasbacks.  Canvasback, the name given to this duck because of its pale gray back and white sides with a wavelike pattern resembling canvas fabric.  A close look will show one of the males with mud on its face obtained from its foraging habit of diving in shallow waters for roots, tubers, and the basal parts of

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August 23, 2016

Teal Season

For duck hunters, the first week of teal season is the first of September east of I-25.  Although ducks can’t read, teal start leaving the state with the passage of the first cold front in late August.  Thus, it wasn’t surprising to observe 150 plus teal packed along the shoreline of the large headquarters pond.  They were in the small cove on the southeast end where they weren’t visible from the road. But, I was on foot and when I

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April 11, 2014

Upper Twin Lake

A timelapse showing 4 days passing at the Upper Twin Lake on the Chico.