Sunday, 22 April 2012


I'm still trying to sort, file and catch up with all the images that I've taken over the last couple of months, or in other words, I'm consigning  the majority of my recent photographic  endeavours to the trash can!!

I did however find these that I thought I might share with you.

Exactly a month ago I went to Ashridge Estate in search of the Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers which had recently been seen there. Unfortunately I didn't find the Woodpeckers , but what I did find, on a small muddy pond about 300 yards from the very noisy visitor centre, were a pair of beautiful and very confiding Mandarin Ducks.

 The adult male is a striking and unmistakable bird. It has a red bill with a white tip, a large white crescent above the eye, a reddish face and long reddish neck feathers that resemble a beard or whiskers. The breast is purple with two vertical white bars, and the flanks ruddy, with two orange "sails" at the back.

 The adult female is mainly a drab grey -brown in colour with a white belly and large white spots on her neck, breast and flanks she also has  a white eye-ring and stripe running back from the eye,(like a pair of spectacles!) and a pale tip to the end of the bill. 

The true range of the Mandarin Duck (aix galericulata) is Eastern Asia where it was once widespread, but large-scale exports and the destruction of its forest habitat have reduced populations in eastern Russia and in China to below 1,000 pairs in each country; Japan however, is thought to still hold some 5,000 pairs. The small UK breeding population has derived from escapee birds from private collections,  and for this reason most 'grown up' birders class them as 'plastic'!

I guess this pair might also have been escapees as they didn't seem to be too worried by my presence and only took flight when a group of (about 30!) red uniformed, very noisy, young (infants class) school kids arrived to do some pond dipping!!


Roy said...

Stunning images Trevor. What a beauty.

Bob Bushell said...

Beautiful, yes, some 'grown up' birders, don't want them here. Well, I do. Great photos Trevor.

holdingmoments said...

Outrageously beautiful ducks.
Second shot is a cracker Trevor.
Shame they were not around last week.

grammie g said...

HI Trevor..My there are gorgeous birds aren't glad you included a video. I have seen them on other blogs, but not in action it was wonderful! Great reflections too !!
Take care

The Herald said...

Thanks Roy...[;o)

Spot on Bob, I couldn't agree more!...[;o)

Thanks Keith, they sure are beauties.
Shame we couldn't find them for you...[;o(

Hi Grace, Glad you liked the pics and video. Beautiful birds aren't they?...[;o)

Andrew said...

Superb images of these beautiful little ducks. It's a good job they keep themselves to themselves or they might go the same way as the Ruddy Duck... which I have to admit I really miss seeing.


Thank you trevor, as you may know, i dont know much about birds but your blog and film are very informative ...yes i could hear the kids too.


ShySongbird said...

I can't be doing with these 'grown up birders' and their plastic ideas ;-) I think they are lovely ducks Trevor, the male is so impressive! I remember the first time I saw one in a picture I honestly thought at first it was a piece of craft work that someone had made out of pieces of coloured felt!! They don't seem to have reached my area yet but I hope they do.

Really lovely photos and so nice to see them on video too, the first time I ever have as far as I can remember.

The Herald said...

Thank you Andrew. The Ruddy Duck scenario doesn't bare thinking about!...[;o(

Thanks Peter I'm glad you found it interesting and informative...[;o)

Hi Jan, yeh, the male does look like he's been put together with all the left over
Thanks for the kind comments...[;o)

Ruby said...

The second shot is wonderful Trevor. I will soon post a drawing of it :) Cheers, Ruby

The Herald said...

Thanks Ruby, I'm looking forward to seeing your drawing!...[;o)