Wednesday, September 16, 2009
OUT AND ABOUT WITH MAX: Ducks Deluxe
Max spent most of the summer doing his A-levels, which is - I suppose - a perfectly valid reason for him not having done any bloggo stuff for yonks. However he has managed to sneak out a few times to sit in his car and listen to Tarkus with a peculiar look on his face, and occasionall to do a little bit of bird watching. He usually takes his camera with him, and over the last few months has built up a fantastic library of images of the wildlife of the Wells region of Somerset. Here are some of them...
There is little interesting or special about this series of photographs. All we have is a series of ducks and geese that I saw in about 10 minutes of photography at a local lake. Never mind.
We start with one of Britain’s most successful aliens, the Canada goose. A large duck, along its range in North America some populations can be half the weight of others, but some of the larger races were released here on separate occasions to make up our mixed race Canada geese. They are a pretty species; although apparently dull the body’s feathers look like they have been painted over with a light brush of cream paint to create the grizzled effect on the brown feathers.
Now a rarer species: the pochard. An uncommon duck, it is easily seen in wetland nature reserves, but rarely in town and garden lakes. A pretty duck, the chestnut head gives its presence away. They sit very upright in the water before diving down like their close relatives Tufted ducks to catch their food. They are slow to get off the water in flight, and often take a long runway along with furious flapping and surface running to get them airborne.
Mallards have been domesticated for centuries, and here is a feral cultivated variety. It is larger and heavier-bodied than a wild individual, and most obviously, a very different colour. It seemed to have paired with the female below, and both ducks were happy for me to get quite close to photograph them. Mallards are so ubiquitous they have become the default duck for modern times. They adapt easily to human presence and are as such a common feature in watercourses around the UK.
Dumpy, black and white, and Britain’s most common diving duck, Tufted ducks are amongst the cutest of our local ducks. The males are a striking two tone with a funny crest that they erect to display to females, but it is lost when they shed to eclipse plumage.
There - some common Anseriformes.