Yes, its a lousy image: noisy, lacking fine detail. The water looks nasty. The light isn’t great.
But true birders don’t care at all about these flaws because this is a very rare vagrant from Siberia and a first for Arizona. This is a drake Baikal Teal that was first discovered by Gary Nunn on Thursday December 2, 2010, late in the afternoon, at the Gilbert Water Ranch. His email alert went out immediately, but there just wasn’t enough time for me to make the drive there before the sun went down. So like a lot of other birders I was there before dawn on Friday 12/03/10 scanning the pond with my old spotting scope until the bird was relocated just before sunrise.
I never got any shots on my morning visit – the bird was too far away for me and the light was terrible. So I went back in the afternoon and got a series of distant shots on another pond where the teal had been relocated.
Better photos and more information is available on the photo documentation page at AZFO.org.
I went back again today and saw the teal on yet another pond, along with many birders who couldn’t make it before today. The light was better, but the teal still stayed farther away than was convenient. Here’s one of the slightly better images from 12/05/10:
The last report of this rare vagrant was Friday December 10, 2010.