There’s a small pond fairly close to where I live, right beside a main road junction that I use at least once or twice a week. Since it’s on the edge of Epping Forest, with its established population of Mandarin Ducks, I make a point of looking at it every time I go past. Never seen a Mandarin on there, in four or five years – presumably it gets a bit too much disturbance, and there’s not much cover.
Or maybe you just can’t see them if you’re in the driver’s seat… since Nick had no trouble whatsoever picking up a pair in the pouring rain this afternoon, at the first time of trying! We bailed out of the car to take a few hasty photos – not nice light at all, and not nice conditions for a non-waterproof lens, but worth it for pretty smart birds, enhanced by the water droplets on their plumage. Maybe these two will hang around; I’ll certainly go back for a lengthier visit if they do.
And, continuing the theme, here’s the Green-winged Teal that Rich B found at Crossness yesterday. A London tick for me, these have been surprisingly scarce for a few years in the capital. You’d think that Rainham would get one sooner or later, given that plenty of us check all the Teal pretty carefully, but (unless this individual pays a visit to the reserve) it’s getting a bit late for this winter.
The bird showed pretty well for scope views, dabbling around on the sewage outfall (another glamorous and lovely birding location, I hear you cry), but still a bit far for the camera. Head-on, the much fainter yellow lines around the green head panel were clearly different compared to Teal, as well as a warmer-toned pinkish colour to the breast. Oh, and the massive solid white vertical lines on the fore-flanks help, too…