Today I took an hour to investigate reports of a Female Mandarin near the 14 Locks stretch of Canal, pictures online of which looked to actually be a Female Wood Duck. I’m not overly familiar with Wood Duck, till today anyway. After finding the bird, Wood Duck was confirmed with all the right features, with thick white eye-ring, point towards the eye at the base of bill, saturated wing tips, and upturned thin flank stripes. Not only that, the bird seemed to be quite chunky, only slightly smaller than the accompanied Mallards. Both Wood Duck and Mandarin are invasive species and spark a bit of controversy amongst naturalists as they have the potential to unbalance native populations of wildfowl by competing for similar food supplies. Personally, I’m unconvinced on this argument, and see them as a species that fit into their own category, but unlike invasive predators, it’s very difficult to assess the impact of invasive species like this. Mandarin and Wood Duck nest in holes in Trees which rules out any breeding competition with our native Ducks, but it does mean they occupy the same nesting holes as many of our Birds of Prey like Kestrels and Owls, most of which are in serious decline. As with everything in conservation, nothing is straight forward and the area of wildlife control creates even more controversy.
Here is a picture of this very Wood Duck. Likely to be an escapee from a collection rather than a wild bird, but beautiful either way.
A call out to anyone interested in purchasing prints for Christmas. If anybody desires any of my photographs in the last couple of years for yourself or your loved ones, now is the time to get your orders in. If ordered within the next three weeks I can guarantee it will make it in time for Christmas. My most popular prints are listed below but I have many more. I’m also offering personal wildlife sound recording and photography workshops with a special featured sale on Woodland Bird Photography based at Ian Howell’s professional Bird hide setup.