I arrived to do the Draycote Water roost this afternoon and stopped off briefly at the overflow as the precious few gulls already in had collected off there. They were mostly head on but before I moved round to the inlet I had a quick look through the ducks between the overflow and Rainbow Corner. I soon noticed a drake Common Teal with a vertical white stripe running down the breast side. I called up John Judge, who was already at Draycote and resumed looking at the bird. There was a pale line running along the lower scapulars but it appeared grey.

Green-winged Teal x Eurasian Teal hybrid, Draycote Water.

Once John had arrived we moved closer to the bird and discovered that the line along the lower scapulars appeared grey because the upper scapulars were overlaying it to some extent and it’s appearance altered with posture, clearly white when exposed.

Green-winged Teal x Eurasian Teal hybrid, Draycote Water.

This, combined with the weakness of the white line along the breast sides was a serious cause for concern so John put up a Tweet asking for opinions as to whether the bird was a hybrid. A little while later we looked up some images of hybrids which pretty much settled it when we received a message from Bob Hazell who also thought it a hybrid and a reply to the Tweet from Andy Mackay who confirmed that a pure Green-winged Teal should not show any white in the lower scapulars. In addition John had noticed that the yellow border to the green face patch was rather broad along its upper edge, consistent with Eurasian Teal.

Green-winged Teal x Eurasian Teal hybrid. Photo by Theo de Clermont.

The British Ornithological Union (BOU) will adopt the taxonomic treatment currently followed by the International Ornithological Congress (IOC) as of midnight tonight. The IOC treat Eurasian and Green-winged Teal as a subspecies group (under the common name Common Teal), that is a unit comprising subspecies which are currently lumped but for which there is significant evidence that species specific treatment may be merited.

The 2nd W  Iceland Gull was in the roost for it’s second night. This is the third Iceland Gull of the early winter period, following a Juv. on 28/12 and an Ad. on 16/12. The first Glaucous Gull of the winter was a Juv. 08/12 on which had spent the day at Shawell and was thought to be the bird that had been roosting at Chasewater (to which it I believe it returned the next day). The only other was an Ad. which remains the only white-winger this winter to arrive early, on the afternoon of 23/12.

Ad. Glaucous Gull, Draycote Water. 

Two Hawfinches, one paler than the other and with less black around the bill base but no obvious pale secondary panel, are still using the car park and birds have also been recorded flying over Rainbow Corner in the evenings.

Hawfinch, Draycote Water.