Sunday 4 October 2015

Ring-necked Duck: another quacker at Startops

Tring reservoirs: Hmmm....with a pun like that in the title, is there any hope for the ensuing post? I’ll crash on regardless.

I’ve been about as dynamic as a hibernating hedgehog for the past few days. The chance of anything vaguely creative, even accidentally finding its way here, is pretty slim. Still, with a self-imposed goal of hitting the publish button at least once a week(ish), I’ve climbed out from under the duvet, left Don in yet another whiskey-induced spiral of self-destruction (Mad Men, season 6) and gone to see a bird.

At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking that this is just a Tufted Duck, without a tuft, and with the addition of a couple of flashy bands around its bill. It isn’t, honest. It’s a very smart American, male, Ring-necked Duck. It turned up at Wilstone reservoir on Friday evening, disappeared Saturday, and reappeared today at Startops, long enough for the young, the old and the middle-aged and infirm (i.e. me) to drag themselves out into the blissful warmth and sunshine, and be dazzled by rarity. The last (and first) one I saw at the reservoirs was a dull juvenile at Wilstone in 2013. Prior to that there had been less than 15 county records.

View across Startop's End Reservoir, from SW shoreline + digiscoped inserts. Distance to bird approx 200 metres


  1. It's amazing how you pick something up so far away and recognise it as something special rather than just a tufty or a scaup

    1. Hi Si, it definitely helps when you know it’s out there ;o). I admire the guys at the reservoirs who painstaking check through what is sometimes hundreds of wildfowl and first spot the slightly odd one out. I’m not sure I’d have the patience even if I could do it (my ability to scan with a scope or binoculars is pretty limited due to the effects of Meniere’s Disease on my visual system. Basically, it causes intense vertigo and loss of balance).


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