Saturday, December 31, 2011

Baikal Teal & New Year

This will be my final post for the year 2011. As I said in the earlier post, I visited Ono River on December 29th looking for the rare vagrant Scaly-sided Merganser which, however, didn't show up. I waited from dawn to dusk but still failed to see the bird. At least, a beautiful male Baikal Teal (Anas formosa) showed up just about an hour before sunset. It was my first Baikal Teal for this season. I could get a bit closer to the bird than the last time I saw it in Kaku. However, the lighting was awful since the sun was almost behind it. In this case, Shadow/Highlight function in Photoshop did help me a lot.

The Baikal Teal is widely praised as being one of the 3 most beautiful ducks in the world along with the Mandarin and Falcated Duck. Fortunately, I have seen all of the three and the Baikal Teal is my most favourite. I just love the facial pattern of the drake. Those stripes and patches of colours are so interesting and artistic. It even shows a white X mark when viewing from the back of its head. It's used to be listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species but was recently changed to Least Concern after the population has recovered due to strong conservation campaigns, especially in Korea. Its facial pattern also serves as the logo of Birds Korea website. I'm going to Fukuoka in a few hours for birding and enjoying the New Year vacation. Hope to see this beautiful duck again in Hakata Bay, one of its major wintering sites in Japan. Happy new year to all of my readers. See you in 2012!

3 comments:

Phil said...

That seems a good way to end the year, with such a beautiful duck, one we don't see over here unless it's in a collection. Best wishes for the New Year Tony, we in the Uk are a bit behind you but we'll get there eventually.

Stuart Price said...

Great bird, this species is definitely a big gap in my Japanese list........

Russell said...

Congratulations on getting such nice photos of this beautiful duck. Have a good holiday and look forward to your posts in 2012.