Posts Tagged ‘Mallard’

A bright sunny day and a chance to do the weekly butterfly and dragonfly survey on my home patch. It has been a somewhat slow start to the year with sporadic butterflies and just two records so far of Large Red Damselfly (two weeks ago – which was an early date for this site) and nothing since. As I made my way down to the Tarn I found a female Brimstone and then by the pool a Holly Blue.

Holly Blue

 

Approx 6-8 Large Red Damselflies were on the pool and 2 pairs were busily laying eggs. A single Azure damselfly was also present.

Large Red Damselfly

Azure damselfly

 

 

 

 

 

This was to be the highlight as the remainder of the walk only yielded a single Green-veined White and a second Brimstone.

Green-veined White (1st brood Female)

The nesting season for birds is well underway and today there were young Coots, Greylag Geese, Canada Geese and Mallard around the Tarn.

Coot and young

Greylag Geese and young

Canada Goose and young

Mallard and young

 

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)

Green-veined White [sp] (Artogeia napi)
Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)
Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)

Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella)
Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula)

 

 

 

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Later in the day, I went to our local nature reserve at Sutcliffe Park. It was a bright sunny frosty day. There was little to see in the marsh area, other than a couple of Moorhens, but the partially frozen lake was busy with a group of Canada Geese along with 2 Mute Swans, a flock of Mallard and some Coot. Both Black-headed and Common Gulls were also present.

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Mute Swan

Mute Swan

Mallard (m)

Mallard (m)

Black-headed and Common Gulls

Black-headed and Common Gulls

Mute Swan

Mute Swan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alongside the lake, a group of House Sparrow moved through the vegetation. Once numerous and the commonest garden bird in London they are now just recovering from a calamitous decline which saw them become a rarity. This is still the only place in my patch where they are regularly found.

 

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

 

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Made a detour on the way home for a walk around the Tarn. I was looking to see if I could find the Grey Wagtail which has been frequenting the feeding station in the garden for the last couple of weeks and which I presume is over-wintering on the islands in the Tarn.

Greylag Geese

Greylag Geese

I couldn’t see the Wagtail but a real delight was a pair of Gadwall on the lake. This is a first record here for me in 16 years of observation.

Gadwall

Gadwall

Another interesting sighting was a total count of 30 Moorhens around the lake. The previous high count was 13 in October 2014 and only 3 counts over 10 in the last 6 years. So where have they all come from?

Moorhen

Moorhen

Ring-necked Parrakeet

Ring-necked Parrakeet

Mallard

Mallard

 

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)

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Popped into Sutcliffe Park Local Nature reserve this morning for a quick visit to see what was present on the marsh.

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The river is in flood due to all the rain we have had (this is the main reason the wetland was created to be a flood-plain for the river). So it was difficult to pick your way round the edges avoiding the very boggy bits.

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Spent a lot of time scouring the channels in the marsh looking for Snipe (regular) and Green Sandpiper (seen earlier in the week) but to no avail. Some of the more common residents were still to be seen though.

Robin

Robin

 

Coot

Coot

 

Tufted Duck

Tufted Duck

 

Mallard

Mallard

The highlight of the visit was a group of 5 Common Gulls on the Athletics field. Despite it’s name it is not that common locally.

 

Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)

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A misty morning as I arrived at Footscray meadows for a local RSPB walk. Whilst waiting for the group to assemble saw Song Thrush and Little Egret which were to be common sightings throughout the morning. As we set off towards the River Cray we could hear the Ring-Necked Parakeets shrill calling through the mist, which soon diapated leaving us with a bright sunny morning.

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Ring-Necked Parakeet

Ring-Necked Parakeet

Walking along the banks of the River we encountered a Kingfisher and a Grey Wagtail, both allowed good views although only the latter was within photographic range.

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Grey Wagtail

Grey Wagtail

 

Crossing the bridge at the northern end of the site we made our way back down the river through grassland and stopping to look at the woods. Apart from groups of Long-tailed Tits there seemed to be a marked absence of small birds. Arriving back at the river by the Five Arch Bridge we added Mallard, Coot, Moorhen and Tufted Duck to our list.

Mallard

Mallard

 

A Great Comorant was seen flying over as we set off to the south following the bank of the river. A pair of Little Grebe and a pair of Gadwall were found amongst the Islands and a Water Rail was heard from deep inside the vegetation as we made our way back to our starting point.

 

A very pleasant mornings walk. Thanks to Ralph and Brenda the leaders.

 

Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Water Rail [sp] (Rallus aquaticus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)

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Back to the weekly butterfly and dragonfly survey of the patch. Its a beautiful day and so am hopeful for plenty to record.

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My first stop is the Damselfly pool. Its a good start as there are 6 Large Red Damselflies including a tandem pair. This really is excellent as I had been worried that the water quality issues might have killed off all the nymphs. Large Red are the earliest species to emerge on this site and so I am hopeful that the other Damselfly species (4 recorded last year) will also be OK.

Large Red Damselfly

Large Red Damselfly

Moving on the lake edges are thick with vegetation. Large White; Orange-Tip and Brimstone are all present in good numbers, but no blue butterflies. At the western end I also found a Comma butterfly.

Comma Butterfly

Comma Butterfly

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There is still much breeding activity going on with Moorhen and Coot still on nests.

Moorhen

Moorhen

The Greylag geese still have 7 young, now growing fast and there are 5 Mallard young. But no evidence that any Canada Geese have bred this year.

Greylag Geese

Greylag Geese

Mallard

Mallard

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Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines)
Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)
Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album)

Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula)

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Its been two weeks since I have done the butterfly and dragonfly survey on my patch, so I am keen to see what changes there may have been. It is a warm afternoon but there is a stiff breeze which is obviously not ideal.

The Garden draws a blank and so I set off towards the Tarn. As I reach the entrance a Peacock butterfly drifts across my path. Common Carder Bees and White-tailed Bees are actively feeding on the flowers. A Small White Butterfly flies across a patch of flowers, but along with another seen later in the walk that is to be the sum of the butterflies seen today.

It looks like it has been snowing but it is actually a fall of seeds from one of the trees.

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The Damselfly pool is looking in very poor state at the moment with almost no living pond vegetation. Still looking back over the last couple of years I have not had records till June from here so it is to be hoped that there will still be some live larvae to emerge in the coming weeks,

Mallard and Greylag Geese have both got young. I could only count 7 Greylag goslings (11 two weeks ago), but they are well tucked away so it may be that the remainder may just be out of view. Strangely the Canada Geese seem to be making no attempt at nesting although they are hanging around in pairs. The 2 Egyptian geese, which arrived about a month ago, are still present.

Mallard with young

Mallard with young

 

 

Egyptian Geese

Egyptian Geese

I find the resident Terrapin sunning himself on the retaining wall of one of the islands. Its been a few visits since I last saw him and I did wonder if he was still around.

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Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)

Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Peacock Butterfly (Inachis io)

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As I am off for 10 days in Northumbria on Saturday I have been trying to get round my survey sites before I go. This afternoon I did the weeks butterfly and dragonfly walk on my patch. It started well with a female Brimstone in the garden as I was leaving the house. Another couple of males were present by the Tarn together with Orange Tip; Holly Blue and the years first speckled Wood.

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

Searching along the edges of the Tarn i came across another creature watching the Tarn. In this case i would imagine looking for something to stray too close. He or she sat there for quite sometime hardly moving at all and was still there when I moved on from that section.

Red Fox

Red Fox

The first water-bird young have arrived. Eleven young Greylag geese accompanied by 4 adults so I presume this is two broods. At least one other is still on a nest on the islands.

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Parent keeps an eye on me whilst I photograph the goslings

Parent keeps an eye on me whilst I photograph the goslings

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Also the first Mallard chicks

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I couldn’t find any Canada Geese nests but these may be hidden on the islands. But the coots still seem to be building nests.

Coot

Coot

The Egyptian Geese which arrived a couple of weeks ago are still present.

Egyptian Goose

Egyptian Goose

Disappointing is that the damselfly pool looks in very poor condition. There is almost no live vegetation and I am worried that there is nothing left alive in it. It is connected to the main lake by a pipe so it is likely affected by the woes that have troubled the main lake and it may be they have hit hardest here, because of the lack of drainage and water movement. This will be a major loss as 4 out of the 10 dragonfly species found in the area are located solely on this pond.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)

Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines)
Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)
Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)
Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

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A morning walk round the patch.

At last the algal bloom seems to be clearing from the Tarn but it may be a long time until the water quality returns to normal.

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Although there is still quite a covering of algae at the eastern end of the Tarn

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Despite clear water there is little waterbird activity with just a few Mallard, Coot and Moorhens present.

Mallard

Mallard

Coot

Coot

Moorhen

Moorhen

The male Muscovy duck is still around but there is no sign of his female.

Muscovy Duck

Muscovy Duck

There is always something to delight though and a party of Long-tailed Tits is flitting through the trees on the water’s edge.

Long-Tailed Tit

Long-Tailed Tit

As I am leaving a Sparrowhawk is circling above and soon attracts the attention of the local crows which rise to chase it off

Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)

Mallard

Posted: November 2, 2014 in Birds, Natural History
Tags:
Male in breeding plumage

Male in breeding plumage

The Mallard is the commonest and most easily recognised duck species in the UK.

female

female

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It can be found in all parts of the country although it is scarcer in upland areas. It has a wide range of foods which has enabled it to adapt to different habitats

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female with chicks

female with chicks

In the UK there are two populations, one resident and the other which breeds in Northern Europe and spends the winter in this country. The breeding population in the UK has been estimated at between 60 and 150 thousand pairs with a estimated wintering population of around three-quaters of a million birds.