Grey Teal and a warning

Grey Teal are unassuming small ducks and there is something about them that I like, a lot.

 

Grey Teal - Kim WormaldGrey Teal (Anas gracilis)

 

Grey Teal are Australia’s most widespread waterfowl (according to Pizzey and Knight). They are greyish brown and each feather is delicately edged with cream, apart from the rump feathers. The bill is very dark green and their eyes are red. Grey Teal are easily confused with female Chestnut Teal, and this confusion is exacerbated by the fact that the two species are happy to forage together. A key identifier is that Grey Teal have white throats. Male Chestnut Teal are easy to distinguish from Greys as they have a dark green, glossy head and rich chestnut coloured underparts.

 

Grey Teal (Anas gracilis)

 

Grey Teal are about 44cm in length and eat a mixture of flora and critters from dry land and in water. They are interesting to watch as they feed in various ways including dabbling, upending and pottering about on land.

 

Grey Teal - Kim WormaldGrey Teal (Anas gracilis)

 

The long-distance preening shot, above, made me smile. The teal’s colouring looks warmer in the late afternoon light but I’m pretty sure it’s a grey as its throat looks too white for a chestnut.

 

Grey Teal - Kim WormaldGrey Teal (Anas gracilis)

 

Warning – the following section talks about duck hunting in Victoria.

Grey Teal look sweet to me, gentle, and it’s upsetting to know that they are one of the species the Victorian government allows to be hunted during Duck Hunting Season which this year began on 15 March and is due to close on the 9th June. It’s deplorable that the government allows this ‘sport’ to shatter the tranquility of the states waterways and destroy native wildlife. The ‘game’ ducks that hunters are permitted to kill are Grey Teal, Pacific Black Duck, Australian Shelduck (Mountain Duck), Australian (Blue-winged) Shoveler, Chestnut Teal, Pink-eared Duck, Australian Wood Duck and Hardhead.

Bag limits of 10 birds per day are permitted but rarely enforced and the toll on bird life isn’t restricted to the permitted birds. Shooters (from the age of 12) are supposed to be able to identify waterfowl but despite that birds shot include Black Swan, threatened Freckled Duck (one of the world’s rarest waterbirds), Red-necked Avocet, Whistling Kite, Eurasian Coot, Purple Swamphen, Blue-billed Duck, Musk Duck, Galah, ibis, owls, spoonbills and grebe. In 2011 a rescuer was shot and almost lost the sight in her eye. The Coalition Against Duck Hunting (also on Facebook) works tirelessly despite facing many legal and other obstacles as they strive to ultimately have duck shooting banned and in the meantime to rescue injured ducks and raise public awareness of the carnage.

Images posted by the Coalition Against Duck Hunting are heartbreaking; row after row of dead Freckled Duck and other species. Emails to Denis Napthine, the Victorian Premier, advocating for an end to duck hunting would be much appreciated by our waterbirds: denis.napthine@parliament.vic.gov.au

I hadn’t intended to write about duck hunting, I thought I was going to write a happy post about one of my favourite birds. I guess if it results in even one more person supporting the Coalition Against Duck Hunting, or writing to the premier, then it has been a happy post after all.

Happy birding, Kim

 

PS An earlier post features Endangered Freckled Duck

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14 comments to Grey Teal and a warning

  • Tamsin

    Scarlett and I both love ducks! I will show her your photos in the morning I’m sure she will love them too. Hopefully duck hunting will be made illegal before next season, it’s just horrendous. I had one man tell me it was ok because ducks weren’t native… It really is depressing how many ignorant, heartless people there are in the world.

    Lucky there are lovely people like you to help even the odds x

    • lirralirra

      I’m glad you and Scarlett love ducks and totally agree with the hope that duck hunting will soon be illegal. I’m shaking my head at the thought of the man who said ducks aren’t native. And it’s even luckier that there are lovely people like you xo

  • These are lovely images, Kim. In my opinion, the hunting of any waterfowl is deplorable. I do not understand the mindset of killing since I did not grow up on a farm or in the country. There have been too many instances of endangered species being killed by allegedly ‘ignorant’ hunters. In my state of Indiana, Whooping Cranes have been shot by ‘mistake’ more than once. Mia at http://www.onthewingphotography.com did a post a year ago or so about a rare duck that bird-watchers had flocked to see at Antelope Island on the Great Salt Lake in Utah. Someone then shot it. People say that the fees hunters pay help to conserve natural areas for all of us, but I read a statistic that 1 in 5 Americans are bird-watchers which outnumbers the hunters.

    • lirralirra

      Hi Julie, I find it impossible to understand the mindset of killing too. What pleasure can anyone possibly get from shooting defenceless creatures? It’s sickening. I’ll have a look for that post of Mia’s. It really highlights the pulling power of birds, effectively ruined by one shooter. In Victoria it is only 0.4% of the population that are shooters and yet the government supports it, while protesters are hassled and occasionally shot at. Thank you for sharing, it’s good to be amongst people who care.

  • Yes, although simple and plain in appearance they have lots of appeal – I like them too. I know some people don’t like to give human descriptions to animals but ‘unassuming’ is a good one for this duck. And the duck hunting…don’t get me started, just deplorable. Thanks for highlighting. Enjoy your weekend, Kim.

    • lirralirra

      I hadn’t realised I’d given the teal a human description until you mentioned it, it just seemed to fit them perfectly. I’m glad to be amongst kindred spirits Rick, hopefully our pleas will soon be heard and the sounds of guns shattering the peace of our wetlands will be silenced.

  • Lyn young

    Wonderful images of these sweet little ducks relaxing and living a peaceful life. The identification ‘errors’ clearly show that there should be a species ID test before licences are issued. Kids having guns loaded with real bullets, just makes me so sad.

    • lirralirra

      The sad thing is that there is an ID test but that few shooters seem to care. One of the fb responses to this post talked of over-hearing a guy telling his 12 year old son not to bother studying the guide as ‘it’s stupid rubbish anyway and all ducks should die’. I agree about children with guns; there is nothing about the duck hunting season that is good 🙁

  • Lovely shots of the Grey teal! I am not into hunting of any kind bird or animal..Have a happy weekend!

  • Valda Jenkins

    We could not agree more Kim. It is a big black mark against the Premier, also that he supports cruel horse jump racing. Being a vet we would have thought he would be against this cruelty. We will add our names to the Coalition Against Duck Hunting.

    • lirralirra

      Hi Valda, I was reading about the premier being a vet. You really would think he’d have more empathy and the strength of character to stand up against cruelty. Thank you for adding your support to the Coalition Against Duck Hunting.

  • I have a soft spot for ducks too. A soft spot which is bigger than the waterways they frequent.
    And hunting for sport is an obscenity. I will send that email.

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