• Garganey

    Common NameGarganey
    Scientific NameAnas Querquedula
    Type of ReportRare Species
    Date of Observation10/08/2017
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    Number Observed1
    Reporting Observer's NameAlison Wagner
    Mailing Address111 Highland Drive
    P.O. Box 123
    Huntington, vT 05462
    United States
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    EmailEmail hidden; Javascript is required.
    Date Completed10/25/2017
    Latitude of Observation44.1951.2N
    Longitude of Observation73.0734.8W
    Place NameLagoon Road
    Vermont eBird Checklist URLebird.org
    Time of Day03:15 PM
    Length of Time Observed15 minutes
    Maximum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)25 feet
    Minimum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)25 feet
    Noteworthy Weather Conditions

    Do not remember temperature; calm winds and cloudy

    Optical Equipment Used for Observation

    Swarovskis and Kowa on 20 power

    Observer’s Previous Acquaintance With This or Similar Species

    April 28, 2014; male Garganey in breeding plumage seen at Ethan Allen Homestead in Burlington, VT

    I certify that that attachments included with this report were captured during this observation event​​.
    Description of Habitat

    Settlement pond of sewage treatment plant. Surrounding habitat is open pastures and riparian areas and LaPlatte River.

    Behaviors Observed

    The bird was quiet during the entire observation. First seen floating in the settlement pond and then out of the water where it stood on the sloped edge of the pond.

    Description of Vocalizations

    No vocalizations observed

    Verbal Narrative & Description of Observation

    The head and facial pattern of this bird immediately caught my attention. I had never seen a bird with such field markings on the head so I watched it for an extended period of time. It was quiet the entire time, floating on the water in one spot, and not feeding. A Canada Goose that was very close by was very helpful in determining the size of the duck. There were no other water fowl anywhere else at this location. After a while, the duck climbed out of the water (I did not see it move), up onto the plastic-lined slope and remained motionless for the rest of the observation.

    Relative Size & Shape

    The duck in comparison to the goose was about a third the size, smaller than a mallard. My immediate thought was that it was the size and shape of a teal.


    The head of the duck was unique. The facial pattern, from crown to throat, is best described as striped. The head was slightly blocky, flat topped with a dark crown. It had a light supercillium wider in the brow and forehead areas, and a dark eye stripe extending from bill across its entire face. Below this, another light stripe from the lore, across the upper portion of the cheek. Below this, a smudgy dark line from gape to auricular area. Light throat.

    light supercillium with a pronounced brow and forehead,

    Feet & Bill

    The feet and bill were very similar in color: very dark, grayish black. The shape of the bill seemed unusual, somewhat long with a heavy base and slightly flat, but not as wide as a Shoveler.

    Upper Back

    The upper back looked very similar to Blue-winged Teal: uniformly brownish gray with lighter edging.


    It’s wings remained tucked during the entire period. These looked very similar to Blue-Winged Teal in patterning and color: brownish gray with lighter (tannish) edging, very fresh looking. A small patch on scapular had what I can best describe as a “hint” of a reddish hue to it.

    Breast, Belly, Flanks, Under Tail Coverts

    Breast was light with flecks of light brown and the belly was lighter. The flanks of the bird looked very similar to Blue-winger Teal and “stood out” when the duck was in the water: patterned brown with lighter edge to feathers, looking very “sharp.”

    IMPORTANT: What similar species were eliminated when making the identification and how was this bird different?

    The comparison with the goose led me to immediately consider a teal species. However, the facial pattern, bill shape and size, and leg color did not seem to fit Either teal. It was too small to be a female Northern Shoveler and the facial pattern, bill shape and size and leg color ruled out Shoveler.

    Other Notes & Comments

    I had initially thought this bird was a hybrid and so I took pictures to see if I could find any bird that looked remotely similar. I did not consider Garganey until I saw the close resemblance between my photos and Sibley’s illustrations of juvenile and adult non breeding Garganey. Next I compared my photographs with other field guides. Finally, I sought opinions from several experienced Birders, including Greg Askew ( who is familiar with this species from time in Europe), which led me to make this report of a possible Garganey..

    This report was written from notes taken:Written from Memory

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