Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Tuftie

A bitter wind kept us 'fresh' this morning while we walked to Straw's Bridge via Pewit Carr.  Pausing to look at the ducks on Manor Floods, there were a number of Tufted Ducks (Aythya fuligula) swimming about on the patch of open water which had frozen over.  Once again, everything was looking rather drab and monochrome.
Among the Tufties were the usual suspects.  Coots, squabbling among themselves, several Black-headed Gulls and a pair of Great Crested Grebes, just beginning to show a little colour again in readiness for spring.  But the Tufted Ducks were what I pointed my camera towards.  Despite the gloom and the first few flakes of snow heralding more to come this afternoon, they were busy dabbling about on the surface for what food they could find.  The only colour to punctuate the scene was from their bright yellow eyes and the male birds' blue-grey bill.
Tufted Ducks are on the RSPB's Amber List as their numbers have declined between 25 and 49% over the last 25 years and their European status is 'unfavourable'.  But still there are large numbers to enjoy and our over-wintering population is said to be around 110,000 individuals.  They're always entertaining to watch too.
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