I first saw the teal when scoping the pond. I was with 2 other people that I met while there - Frank/Barbara Sorger. Even though more of a photographer than a birder, he knew it was a CITE when he saw it through the scope.
LOCALITY OF OBSERVATION
Roswell Marsh WMA in rural Canyon Co. along Hwy 18 just west of town of Roswell. It was seen in first big pond at intersection of Hwy 18 and Pebble Lane.
HABITAT WHERE THE BIRD WAS OBSERVED
Big pond where geese and ducks gather.
SIGHTING DURATION, CONDITIONS, and EQUIPMENT USED
Conditions were fine with mid-afternoon sun to our backs and not much wind. It was a long ways to the bird (I'm terrible at estimating distance) and not sure I could have picked it out with my 8x42 binoculars, but with the Zeiss scope it was easily seen. We watched it for several minutes while scoping other birds on the pond.
DID YOU TAKE NOTES?
No, not at all
DID YOU CONSULT A FIELD GUIDE OR OTHER REFERENCE WORK?
No, not at all
DESCRIPTION OF THE BIRD(s)
Dabbling duck family: Mid-sized duck compared to the much bigger Mallards that were foraging nearby. Striking dark reddish-brown plumage on most of the body with dark feathers toward the rear. Dark longer bill was shoveler-like with that "shovel-type" of look.
BEHAVIOR OF THE BIRD(s)
The bird was actively dabbling-feeding while on the pond. It was in loose association with Mallards who were the most common birds on the pond.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE BIRD, AND WHAT CLINCHED THE IDENTIFICATION FOR YOU?
I knew the instant my scope look over the bird that it was a CITE. That coloration plus the other field marks listed above clinched it for me. There were no field marks to indicate that it was a hybrid.
HOW DID YOU ELIMINATE SIMILAR SPECIES? WHAT WERE THEY?
There are no other ducks that have that much cinnamon coloration on the body with that bill. The other teal species (GWTE and BWTE) have the same look but not that coloration. The other two ducks that have red on them (Canvasback and Redhead) only have the red on their heads and it's not that dark reddish-brown color.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS (AND SIMILAR) SPECIES?
I see a lot of ducks while out birding and look at them all the time. I'm not that great with female ducks or male ducks in eclipse plumage, but male ducks in breeding plumage are fairly easy for me to see and identify.