Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Mandarin Ducks

The weather looked reasonable on Tuesday morning so I picked Dave up and we managed a couple of hours birding before it clouded over. Clouds don't stop you birding but they do stop the bird photography. We hadn't been down to the North Wall at Pagham for a few weeks. Water levels had been very high in the Breech Pool and although there were plenty of ducks and geese about the waders were in short supply and most of the birds were some distance off on the flooded fields.

Things had improved for this visit. The water levels were down, there was mud showing, and there were a few waders about, although nothing unusual. The Black-tailed Godwits were back in the pool along with Redshanks and at least four Spotted Redshanks. We also saw a couple of Snipe and one Water Rail.

Black-tailed Godwit coming into summer plumage

Spotted Redshank coming in to land (or in this case water!)

An elegant bird but it's difficult to keep up appearances with muddy feet

The wind was picking up on the coast so we decided to head inland and have a look for Firecrests at Arundel. No luck with that but we did find a pair of Mandarin Ducks in the stream alongside Mill Road. Having spent a recent afternoon in the New Forest trying to photograph distant Mandarins that would not come out of cover it was odd to see this pair quite happy with people and dogs walking past less than six feet away. Spring is obviously in the air and perhaps the pair had other things on their mind.

Chasing after him

Giving him the definite come on

Doing the business

Looking pleased with themselves

Great birds to watch. The female was in exceptional condition with very subtle colouration and hard as it is to believe, really outshone the drake on the day.

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