Help with identifiction of an unusual duck near Reef Island, Westernport

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Subject: Help with identifiction of an unusual duck near Reef Island, Westernport Bay.
From: "Barbara Burns" <>
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2001 21:05:33 +1100

On my way home from Phillip Island this afternoon I turned off the Sth 
Gippsland Highway, and drove to the end of Soldiers Rd ( next to the Reef 
Island Reserve).  While I was sitting looking at the waves  I noticed  an 
unusual duck standing on the sand.  It appeared  in reasonable condition but 
was not acting normally and made no attempt to fly when I walked to within 2 
metres of it.

It was bigger than a pacific black duck but had a similar shape and a similar 
bill.  Its head was black, very plain with no markings, its eye was dark.  Its 
body was dark grey and it had a brown/chestnut chest.  There appeared to be a 
type of scalloping effect on the feathers. When it raised its wings they had 
large white patches underneath. When its wings were folded,  its rump showed a 
brown patch above a green patch with a smaller triangular white patch in front 
of the other two. (I know that is not very scientific but it is what I saw).

I had Simpson and Day with me and just to confirm it was something different I 
checked through all the Australian ducks but could not find it.  When I went 
home I checked through a book of Northern hemisphere birds but still couldn't 
find it. I then looked up a small book of common New Zealand birds that someone 
had given me and throught it looked like the Paradise duck (Tadorna variegata).

Are there any thoughts on what  this mystery duck could be or is there someone 
in the San Remo/ Coronet Bay area that has some spare time tomorrow and could 
try and find it and ID it

Thanks to anyone who can help.

Barbara Burns

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