Green-winged Teal

Strangford Lough is one of the best locations in the whole of the UK and Ireland for bird watching.  The lough has been designated as a Special Protection Area under the European Birds Directive and also as a Ramsar wetland site.  Different species come and go throughout the year but the winter months definitely see the biggest influx of waders and wildfowl which arrive here from more northerly climes.  Our mild weather, sheltered shores and rich feeding resources, make Strangford the perfect winter stop over, for literally thousands of birds.

Ducks, geese and waders at Strangford Lough

Ducks, geese and waders at Strangford Lough

 

Recently, there have been a number of reports of a rather rare visitor at Bar Hall Bay, at the southern tip of the Ards Peninsula.  A Green-winged Teal has joined a flock of the more common European Teal and seems to have decided to stay for a while.  Normally, Green–winged Teal would be found in North America, but this one must have strayed a bit off course.

 

Green-winged Teal

Green-winged Teal

It looks very similar to our more common European Teal and will probably be within their flock so tricky to single it out.

European Teal

European Teal

The Green-winged Teal has the vertical white stripe on the side of its breast and is lacking the horizontal white scapular stripe on its wing.  It is also lacking the thin buff coloured lines that separate the brown and green parts on the head of the European Teal.

If you go to Bar Hall today, you may be lucky enough to spot it.  And if you don’t see the rare American visitor, you will certainly see our resident species which is just as worthy of our attention.  They are our smallest dabbling duck and fly with very rapid wing beats.  None breed in Ireland, although a few breed in the moors of northern England and Scotland.

Most of the Teal in Strangford Lough today will shortly be returning to northern Europe to breed.  So if you want to see them for yourself, you’ll have to get out there soon.

 

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About National Trust Volunteer Group

We are a group of National Trust Countryside Wardens and Volunteers who regularly get together to do a number of interesting projects to inhance our countryside and wildlife. We spend most of our time around the internationally important site of Strangford Lough and some near by countryside sites. If you ever fancy joining us for a day out, you will be made most welcome.
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