Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Familiar

There can be few birds more familiar to us all than the Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos).  This morning, as we took our walk around Straw's Bridge lakes, there were several of them, as usual, waiting for the food to arrive.
From the first time our parents took us in our push-chairs to toss bread at the ducks in the park, Mallards have been the best known and among the best loved birds in Britain.  They are also our most numerous duck with up to 127,000 breeding pairs resident and at least 370,000 individuals over-wintering here.
These males - or Drakes - are displaying their newly acquired colours after their rather drab 'eclipse' plumage.  The Green of the head and blue of the Speculum feathers in the wings, glow in the pale, Winter sunlight.
What a dull world it would be without these charming characters to brighten up our lives and to pester us for bread every time we venture anywhere near the water's edge.
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