Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Ring-necked Duck at Fleetwood Marsh

February 8, 2011:
This drake had been reported here intermittently for the past ten days; when absent it was thought to be at a nearby reservoir. Today, it spent all the time at the furthest, inaccessible part of the lake and could not be viewed closer than 250 metres.

Ring-necked Ducks nest in northern North America and Canada and are strong migrants wintering in the south of that continent. Each year a few vagrants arrive in Britain, one bird (possibly the same one) was in seen in the area last year.

Present with it were about 15 Pochard and a similar number of Tufted Duck, several Mallard, two Goldeneye, a Great Crested Grebe and numerous Coot. It kept in loose association with the Pochard and particularly with one female with which it spent much time diving.

[Above, the drake second from left, with the much larger Mallard and slightly larger Pochard]

[Here with its diving companion, the female Pochard]

In appearance and plumage it exibited all the typical characters of the drake: a distinctly domed rear portion of its head, a prominent light stripe across its bill with a white band at the base, silvery-grey flanks with a white spur only at the front plus a faint white line running along the top, and markedly S-shaped flank panels.

After a long period of diving during which it seemed mainly to bring up weed, it did a little flapping and preening before drifting away into the reed bed to sleep.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Michael

    I've noticed a few nice shots you've got (Ring-necked Duck, Great Grey Shrike and Smews) and was wondering whether we could use one or two in Birding North West magazine (which is now in colour)?

    Please drop me an email, I look forward to hearing from you.