Manawatu Estuary – 11 May 2002
This morning there was a drake chestnut teal at the Manawatu Estuary, with the largish flock of grey teal and shoveler. By my reckoning this constitutes the 21st NZ record, and the 18th for this site.
Unlike some previous individuals this one is in pretty good plumage with a really bright, deep chestnut breast, a dark head with green tinges and well-developed light (but not quite white) marks on either side of the rear body, before a blackish undertail.
Anyone interested in seeing the bird is advised to look from the end of Dawick St (by the Foxton Beach Motel) on a rising tide as most of the ducks swim past quite close. High tide tomorrow is about 10.20.
Also present: terek sandpiper (surely going to spend the winter now), 2 little terns, 51 Caspian terns, 29 wrybill, 115 little-black shag, 20 bar-tailed godwit.
Further to David Lawrie’s note about little tern plumage, the 2 Manawatu birds are adults in non-breeding plumage, and so may well be Australian rather than Northern hemisphere birds.
All of the above shots were taken by Brent on 18/05/02. As can be seen the bird is the same size as a grey teal, but appears to have a finer head. The dark under-tail and white mark just forward of this, and the generally redder tinge to the plumage make this bird fairly obvious amongst the grey teal. This bird appears to be an adult male moulting into eclipse plumage.