Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

from the August 19, 2012 Newsletter issued from the woods of the Loess Hill Region a few miles east of Natchez, Mississippi, USA

Blue-winged Teal, ANAS DISCORS, immature plumage

Above you see a couple of ducks whose identity had me stumped until the male on the right positioned himself perfectly for sunlight to illuminate his blue wing patch bordered with a white stripe. The rest of his plumage doesn't match any I can find for the Blue-winged Teal, but with such a blue, white-bordered "speculum," what else could he be? Neither duck's bill is long enough to be a Shoveler.

Blue-winged Teals nest well to the north of here, overwintering in this area, so these must be fresh arrivals. The species is known to undertake spring migration later than most ducks, and fall migration early, so their appearance here must qualify as an early arrival. After such a long, hot, humid summer, just seeing them evokes thoughts for more agreeable weather to come.