This weekend, M and I went out to the liquor store on Saturday to pick up some Kraken rum and say hello to M’s friends. On the way, we impulsively stopped by the local duck pond as we hadn’t visited in a while. We were immediately surrounded by the usual assortment of ducks, pigeons, sparrows, and mynas, all hoping for a treat, but near the edge of the pond we spotted a duck that was not like the others. It was smaller, more dark brown, and kept slightly away from the more belligerent mallards. We believed it was a rare brown teal, a native duck that is usually found in protected areas like Tawharanui, but here it was less than two kilometers from our house! The only doubt we had was that this duck had bright orange legs whereas brown teals have grey legs. To resolve this mystery, we took some crappy pictures on my phone (it wouldn’t let us get very close) and decided to return to the pond on Sunday with a better camera.
The next day, we walked to the pond, enjoying the clear, cold winter morning. Many birds were out and about, but when we arrived at the duck pond, our mystery bird had disappeared (of course). We spent about an hour wandering up and down the long pond, disturbing sleeping ducks and taking pictures of more photogenic birds (mostly parrots), before giving up and heading back home. Though the trip did not yield any more mystery bird clues, we still had a nice time and saw over 20 bird species.
At least it wasn’t raining!