No whooping on this trip....
This stunning pair of Ring-neckeds were awesome, but the tiny teal really stole the show! It was great to have such close viewing opportunities, it allows one to really appreciate all the intricate feather patterns that blend into blots of color when the bird is more distant.
pair of Blue-winged Teal, Port Aransas, 2/7/07
The close up view of the male Blue-winged Teal above brought back memories of a "scraggly" kid covered with mud from head to toe, cradling a one-winged, male Blue-winged he'd "rescued" from a nearby stream! Old "Timmy Teal" lived with us for a while and would waddle behind me in the backyard until a nosy neighbor blew me in for not having the proper permit. It's OK I eventually got a dog and he could fetch...
Cinnamon Teal, Port Aransas, TX 2/7/07
While less nostalgic for me than the Blue-winged, the stunning Cinnamon Teal is always a sight for sore eyes.... and actually with that blood-red iris this bird looks like it might have some! Fortunately, I didn't have to choose a favorite, because I had the perfect compromise below, a hybrid male Cinnamon x Blue-winged Teal.
Those following at home may recall this is the second hybrid male between these two species I've seen this year (one in FL in January). It was interesting to note how extremely different the two birds were in appearance. That is one thing about hybrids, is they tend to show intermediate characteristics between the two parent species, but there doesn't seem to be any predictability in how these attributes will be displayed. In some cases, this is likely complicated because a hybrid may back cross with one of the original parent species and create a completely different mix of genes and characteristics.
Of course, no teal-fest would be complete (in the US at least) without the spectacular Green-winged Teal. lik ethe muddy-faced male seen above. This was the third (and a half?) species present in close viewing range this AM! The bird below offers yet more proof of the similarities between teal and the family dog (in case you were wondering)! ;p
male Green-winged Teal scratching his head in Port A . 2/7/07