The Subtle ID challenge
Why does it stand out- just. At the same time easy to overlook. Last Wednesday 26th we had our final Spurn Migration Festival meet. Mark Thomas had found a juvenile Little Stint on Buckton Pond so figured I would swing by en route home. No Little Stint. Maybe it’s at Thornwick Pool ? Nope. But beautiful juvenile Whimbrel and Little Ringed Plover, and more wildfowl than usual. Mostly Mallard, a pair of moulting Gadwall, some Teal and a…
I know what that’s going to be! Fired off this shot:
There is something about those orange brown tones and the shape of scapulars long, warm brown, with crisp white fringes. And why do the ones I see look orange on the breast on underparts (does it say that in ‘the book’). It’s fast asleep. No real view of the head pattern. But I just ‘know’ it’s going to be a Garganey- presumably a juvenile.
So I speed around to our magic photo pod. It’s still there, still asleep This is the first pic from the pod:
OK little missy- time to wake up. please.
LOVERLY! Kinda final confirmation A baby Garganey has arrived in a little influx of wildfowl to our special conservation site at Thornwick Pool. Only the 3rd Garganey record at Flamborough this year and a Patch tick for me 🙂
P.S. perhaps not conveyed in these pics, but the head pattern is not always so ‘obvious‘. Rather easy to pass over at times actually.
She heads onto the water feed. Not so likely to up-end like the Teal, she prefers to just submerge head into water and keep most of body afloat.
Let’s have some detail:
Garganey have narrower specula than Teal. Silvery whiteness going on in the outer wing. This one has pretty plain brown wing coverts. Guess that makes it a female, though notice how the width of white borders both above and below actually appears to vary and the overall width of the specula appears to vary from narrow to broader- curious!
Juvenile wildfowl (most/all?) wear in such a way that a V wedge forms at the feather tip and the shaft pokes out down the centre. Adult tail feathers don’t do that.
The Whimbrel was very smart-looking
and the Mark’s Little Stint hung around for me to see it the next morning: