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Mysterious Duck
Fri, 12 Feb 1999 08:08:51 +0800
From: John H. Phillips III

I know this is an East Bay list, but I wanted to ask if anyone on the list had seen or heard of sightings of an unusual duck I saw a couple days ago in San Francisco's Arboretum. I had a good close look at it without binoculars as it was preening itself while sitting on the small island in the pond. The problem is I cannot find this duck in any American field guide, it didn't appear to be a hybrid, and the closest duck I could find was the Marbled Duck from Africa in a world field guide to waterfowl. Have there been reports of a lost or abandoned exotic pet duck. Or is it a hybrid of some sort? If anyone has seen or heard anything, or knows who I might ask, I would appreciate the help.

Thank you,

John H. Phillips III
Interlibrary Loan  Rm 202
Health Sciences Library
University of California
530 Parnassus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94143-0840
PH: (415) 476-8383
FAX: (415) 476-7940

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Re: Mysterious Duck
Fri, 12 Feb 1999 12:23:08 EST
From: Steve Glover

Hello All,

Assuming this bird is the bird that I have heard about, the bird is a Ringed Teal, native to central South America. I was recently sent a photo of the bird and I too had to look it up. Interestingly, I too looked in the waterfowl book (Madge and Burn) and called it a Marbled Duck. Fortunately, before I could open my big mouth, I realized that even though there are 4 species accounts on the left hand page and 4 sets of drawings on the right hand page, they do not match up if you go across. Although Ringed Teal is the third species down on the description page, it is the bottom species on the plate. I have no idea why the authors did this but they may have had a good reason. It is a really beautiful duck either way.

Hope this helped.

Steve Glover

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RE: Mysterious Duck
Fri, 12 Feb 1999 10:02:35 -0800
From: Mike Feighner


You will not find the duck in question in any American Field Guide. The bird you are asking about has been discussed on earlier e-mails if not on this one then at least on one of the others. Just yesterday Joe Morlan referred to it in a post of his over Calbird. It is a Ringed Teal from Central South America and is pictured in the international Waterfowl Guide which I believe is available through ABA Sales. Back in January 1990 I saw a pair of these at the Sunnyvale Sewage Ponds in Sunnyvale (Santa Clara County). These are more likely escapees. I have always wondered why owners of escapees never come forward as the case is with a lost cat or dog.

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White-throated Sparrow in Berkeley
Fri, 12 Feb 1999 16:37:24 PST
From: Collin Murphy

Hi, Birders!

A beautifully-marked White-throated Sparrow was around my feeders today, within a group of White-crowned and Golden-crowned Sparrows. First one I've seen locally.

Collin Murphy

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New Rex Burress vignette posted
Fri, 12 Feb 1999 22:01:07 -0800
From: Larry Tunstall

I just added a new vignette by Rex Burress on the EBBC website at

This time Rex is musing about the coming of the "time of coupling." Thursday morning we had fun at Hayward Shoreline with Dr Quack in his annual Valentine's Day duck-dating birdwalk. You haven't lived until you've watched a pair of Mallards mating with enthusiastic play-by-play commentary from Dr Quack!

Good birding, Larry

Larry Tunstall
El Cerrito CA

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