I am always excited to see a Blue-wing Teal. I never saw one growing up on Long Island; I saw my first one – a full plumage drake – at Montezuma NWR when I was in college. We also saw flocks of them when we would hunt Open & Lower Lakes WMA in St. Lawrence County. For many of our earlier years there, a 2-bird Teal Bonus was in effect and so we brought a few home with us on many hunts. Whether in fall or spring, the flashing powder blue wing coverts always bring a smile to my face.
Here is a pair that may have been the first decoys I painted with oils. As is typical of my style, I tried to mix pure, hard-edged geometric or organic shapes with softer, more naturalistic portions of the plumage.
I did this preening Drake as part of a tradition: my gunning partners get a mantelpiece bird from me on their 50th birthdays. Although I did not actually drop the wing, I did expose a lot of the speculum and coverts – just for the flash.
On this Drake, I had fun tying the curves of the coverts and speculum into the flank patch. Also, although it cannot be seen from this perspective, I painted “horns” on the bottom of the facial crescents – inspired by the helmets of the Minnesota Vikings.