Tuesday, February 27, 2007
On this day in 1932, Raymond F. Haulenbeek and Alexander Cairns found a "Common" Teal (aka Eurasian Green-winged Teal) at Boonton Reservoir in Morris County. This appears to be the first state report of the subspecies; at least Stone (1965) indicates as much. This record was published by James L. Edwards in the Auk as part of a note in which he chronicled a series of sightings of "Common" Teal at Troy Meadows in April 1932 (Edwards 1932). An interesting sidelight was the observation of the Troy Meadows "Common" Teal with a Eurasian Wigeon on 30 April 1932.
"Common" Teal seems mainly to be a rare spring migrant in NJ, although there is a record of a bird that stayed in Cape May from 1 December 1994 to 12 May 1995 (Hanson 2005). It should be looked for in flocks of Green-winged Teal; careful scrutiny of drakes may reveal one (or more) with a horizontal white stripe. The state maxima is of three birds at Tuckahoe WMA on 2 April 1982 (Walsh et al. 1999); I and a friend saw two birds at Corbin City WMA (often lumped with Tuckahoe) on 26 March 1994. One of those birds was recorded in the sketch that illustrates this post.
As it happens, a "Common" Teal was found at the pond on Reed's Beach Rd. a little earlier this month (photos from Karl Lukens here). Some birders may disregard "Common" Teal because the AOU considers it a subspecies, but it is well worth looking for these birds.
Edwards, James L. 1932. European Teal (Nettion crecca) in Northern New Jersey. Auk 49:460-461. PDF here