Bird's Eye View of Bute

The Two Teals

The Teal
The Teal

(2) Male Teal


The Teal.
On the tenth of March 2010, I was roaming about on the land surrounding the Kirk Dam looking for any life whatsoever. It was a bleak day but calm, so I thought that I may be lucky with some wildlife. Whooper Swans, plus our resident and visiting Mute Swans were feeding, yet some male mute ones were protecting their lady friends with great gusto.


This will go on for weeks on end, as they don’t want incomers to mate with them.
Well nothing much jumped in front of my ever- ready camera, so, wander a bit more, checking the edges of dam hoping to disturb anything at all, only a few Wood Pigeons that were scraping on the ground, for anything edible as there is not much around on March.
A wee bit scunnered I headed to the Bird Hide on the South end of the dam and have my sarnie plus nice hot coffee.
Into the hide, open one viewing flap, flask out, fill the cup. Then, there in front of me were a pair of Teal. I hurriedly switched on my camera keeping out of sight. Then I peeked out, and there was only the male about. I thought where she could have gone to. Here one minute, then gone the next? All was revealed within seconds... The female appeared from underneath the male. The pair had been doing what all birds do during springtime, and I had just observed it for the first time in my life.
The female composed herself then flapped her wings and stood up in the water, while the male just floated beside her apparently non-fussed, but I am sure I detected a wee smirk on his face.
That moment that she stood in the water you now see, as at that moment my camera clicked. It is a while since I have been at the right- place- at- the- right- time but the wait was worth it.
That was the only image that I got as after their high-jinks were done they noticed me and took flight, but was I chuffed? I was indeed.

A jump to March 2013, when I was once more in the same bird hide, maybe hoping for a repeat performance, but no, they must have seen me coming, but I observed a pair of Wigeon ducks doing exactly the same thing.
I had never thought about where they did and how they did it. Wigeon feed in farmers’ fields as in Loch Ascog, but as they are in water most of the time, it does make common-sense doing it in there, I think?
This pair was observed with my binoculars, and was too far away for my camera.
Many years ago I was heading up from the water works at Loch Ascog and I stopped to scan the fields for Graylag Geese with collars on for identification, and a pair of Swifts came into view doing exactly the same as the Teal for a total of five seconds. Now when Swift chicks leave the nests, they will not land until three years later, eating, sleeping on the wing, and also includes sex , so this is not meant to be a sex education on wildlife, but it has ended up being one.


Norrie Mulholland

First Published in the Buteman 17-05-2013



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