Wednesday 30 October 2013

Tufted Ducks Are Back

After the ubiquitous mallard, the tufted duck is probably the most common duck you see on still waters in this area. London Road Lake, Balderton Lake, and the reed bed at RSPB Langford Lowfields support large numbers of these ducks, but recently, they seem to have been on holiday...

It's true. My regular runs around the various lakes have revealed no tufted ducks at all. I know in high summer they tend to leave the lakes to breed elsewhere, but return towards the end of the season. This year they are late.

Perhaps it is down to the relatively mild autumn we've had up until now, but finally today, I saw a few on Balderton Lake.

They aren't a quacking duck, indeed the males make very little sound at all, but it is a handsomely clad species. The male in particular, with his glossy black and white evening dress, and drooping Bryan Ferry crest on the back of his head, is a very good looking fellow indeed. The female is brown, but both sexes sport a distinctive yellow eye.

Tufted Duck by Andreas Trepte,

It is a diving duck, so rather than the mallard dabbling for food with his backside in the air, the tufted duck dives for molluscs and other aquatic insects. As with any diving bird, it's always good fun to try and guess where they will pop up again.

I was glad to see them back on the water, recently only black headed gulls, a few grebes and the usual canada geese, moorhens and mallards have been on the water, and the lakes needed brightening up! Hopefully, I will be able to photograph a goosander this winter.

Copyright Cream Crackered Nature 30/10/2013

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