Help with ID on a duck please

To: <>, birding-aus <>
Subject: Help with ID on a duck please
From: Bill Jolly <>
Date: Sat, 5 May 2012 09:00:36 +1000

Hi Bob
At your urging, and in the spirit of AC Grayling's axiom, I'll add the voice of 
another who has seen many Pintails.
I'm in full agreement with Nikolaas Haass's recent post: "Confirming others, 
neither jizz, plumage colour nor bare part colour "make it" a Northern Pintail 
or any of the other pintails." 
Whereas it's an interesting academic exercise to see what combination of moult 
or abberation could make it resemble a Northern Pintail, I see a Grey Teal, 
clear and simple.
All the best
Bill Jolly
> -----Original Message-----
> From: 
>  On Behalf Of Robert Inglis
> Sent: Thursday, 3 May 2012 9:18 PM
> To: Birding-Aus
> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Help with ID on a duck please
> With reference to David Taylor's very interesting question about the
> 'strange' duck he saw on the University of Queensland campus out there at
> Gatton in the Lockyer Valley in SE Queensland (an area which was devastated
> by, unprecedented in white man's time, floods last year) I would like to ask
> a question with the following context in mind.
> Although I have been birdwatching for nearly 40 years I have never come to
> grips with moult. Although I have been photographing birds for most of that
> time and some of the most expert people in Australia have been very
> patiently trying to educate me in the understanding of moult I seem to be
> too dumb (or too old) to take it all in. I'm tempted to give those people
> names but I really shouldn't embarrass them so I won't. But I say to them
> "Don't give up." I love youse all.
> Anyhow..........
> The question is:
> Why is David Taylor's 'strange' bird not a Northern Pintail female
> undergoing moult of the primaries and, possibly, the secondaries - as has
> been suggested? Is it because it is in Queensland? (Oh, that is facetious,
> Bob and should be struck from the records).
> I have not yet seen a pintail of any description so I am clutching at straws
> here but I have consulted "Wildfowl" by Steve Madge and Hilary Burn as well
> as HANZAB (we all know what that is, don't we?). Having done so it seems to
> me that there is a possibility, small though it might be, that David, et
> all, has found something very 'interesting'.
> Why isn't David's bird a Northern Pintail female undergoing moult of the
> primaries and, as it has been suggested, the secondaries?
> In asking this question, I am hoping that those birders who have had
> extensive experience with observing Northern Pintails will respond. After
> all, the majority of Australian birdwatchers with experience of northern
> hemisphere birds come from...............the northern hemisphere. At least
> that is my observation. A few Australian boundary-ed birdwatchers probably
> only see one or two Northern Pintails in their entire life. As I said, I
> haven't seen any and I confine my observations to the mainland of Australia.
> I realize the shortcomings of digital photography (having been involved with
> it for 11 years) and therefore I understand why David's images vary in the
> colours of the plumage of this bird but, understanding those technicalities,
> I can see, as David saw, that this bird is 'different' to the average Grey
> Teal. My initial reaction was that it is always wise to not look for a
> rarity and to simply look for an aberration when observing something which
> looks 'different'. My experience at that location is that the common ducks
> include Grey Teal so that is what I initially advised David . However,
> further consideration encouraged me to suggest that this bird might, only
> might, be something else. As I read it, David's bird might have a rufous
> wash over the head and the iris might be somewhat different in colour to
> that of Grey Teal. If so that could indicate Northern Pintail female. Not
> Northern Pintail juvenile as the plumage is quite different.
> In the course of education (of me in particular) I would like those birders
> who have had experience with Northern Pintail females (from an observer's
> point of view) to come forward and voice an opinion. Is that too much to
> ask?
> Please understand that I am not being critical of anyone but simply wanting
> to ensure that an opportunity is not missed. I don't mind if I am proven to
> be way of track here.
> A 'proverb' from the latest book I am reading "In advising a friend, seek to
> help, not please". (The good Book - a secular bible- by AC Grayling)
> Bob Inglis
> Sandstone Point
> Qld
> (my new and expanded website - still a work
> in progress so please forgive the errors and omissions)
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