Chestnut Teal Aka Aka

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Ian Southey
Posts: 942
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:45 pm

Chestnut Teal Aka Aka

Postby Ian Southey » Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:04 pm

I saw a male Chestnut Teal on the lower Waikato River this afternoon. The bird is in partial eclipse but still with quite a bit of green on the hind neck and crown and I saw big white patches on the sides near the tail and when it flew it had the same wing pattern as a Grey Teal. It was on the canal near the mouth of the Aka Aka Stream, access is private or by boat. It was associating with a female and a juvenile Grey Teal but flew off separately. Not sure that it will stay there but probably worth watching other local teal hangouts as they should be starting to flock up.

Birds NZ South Auckland has been pottering around there a bit lately and it has been pretty interesting already. Also a Brown Teal and a couple of Bitterns today. Looks like the harder I work the luckier I get.

Posts: 279
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:48 pm
Location: Ngatea

Re: Chestnut Teal Aka Aka

Postby Grahame » Sat Oct 27, 2018 6:44 pm

I arranged to meet up with Paul G early this morning to look for Ian's Chestnut Teal. As it is in Pauls domain, I will let him tell how we spent a few hours.

Onto it!
Picked up Ian Southey’s timely report of Chestnut Teal
within minutes of it appearing on the Forum, so were
well mobile before breakfast this morning. The site is
just below my house window.
All Waikato River access points and tributaries checked
from Puni enroute across the Aka Aka to Maioro marshes
revealed only mongrel grallards.
As the main river access at Hood’s Landing is only a few
hundred metres downstream of Ian’s report, observations
started from there, out into the bayous, islands and
As this place is the centre of life for the famous
‘Waikato River Rats’, it wouldn’t be long until one of the
friendly community of swamp-dwelling wild men came
ashore from their floating bach homes in the river, bringing
a powerful river boat. And sure enough, we were quickly
uplifted by Kent, a very supportive local who took us up
up and down the river and it’s tributaries in the ‘Brown Bomber’,
and also carried-out a detailed search centred well up the
Aka Aka Stream, then around the outflow, site of Ian’s report.
All this, just for the asking, and a box of Steinlager!
Alas, no ducks except grallards and mongrels. So after a
while scoping from shore and a long drive around overlooking
the river and swamps from every possible point, the search was abandoned for the afternoon.
Indeed, there was one look-alike mutant on the lower reaches
near the Aka Aka stream mouth, fitting Ian’s description:
“quite a bit of green on the hind neck and crown and big white patches
on the sides near the tail”, but alas, it was just another mongrel.
No confusion there, for sure.
This is one of the biggest wetlands in New Zealand, and a complex
system of swamps, sunken forest and deep, fast flowing river with
a maze of bayous. Ian’s bird may well be in there somewhere, so
a weekend-long kayak expedition with GPS and VHF radios may
well turn it up again. Don’t underestimate the dangers and extent
of this vast wilderness if you enter the maze!
(There is a fascinating documentary about this unique place that was
part of ex-All Black Marc Ellis’s ‘How the Other Half Live’ TV Series.
Well worth a look to gain sight of this huge habitat area and unique
people of the swamp. We’ve got a bit of everything in New Zealand!)

Cheers, and good luck for any other lookers,

Ian Southey
Posts: 942
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:45 pm

Re: Chestnut Teal Aka Aka

Postby Ian Southey » Sun Oct 28, 2018 6:53 am

We were there doing counts yesterday and didn't see it either.


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