A couple of weeks ago Stoatie Towers went up in the world when our ponds were transformed into Ornamental Lakes by the arrival of a pair of Mandarin Ducks. They didn’t stay long but I managed to get a couple of shots through the conservatory window – try and ignore the blurry glass!
The UK population of these ducks are all descended from birds which have either escaped or been released from collections. They’re native to China and it’s a sad fact that our wild mandarins actually outnumber those left in their natural habitat.
I can’t remember ever having seen these out of the water before and I was struck by how lean and elegant they are. They’re pretty fast flyers and set off at a rate of knots when they finally decided to leave.
In February we’d had another unusual visitor on the ponds – a Moorhen. It stuck around for an hour or two and then took off.
We also had the usual pair of Mallards, in March, but this year they only called in for a couple of days. I don’t think they’ve forgotten the dogs pinning the drake against the fence a few years ago. I managed to call them off and he flew off to join his partner, but there were feathers everywhere! The Heron has also been back after the frogs. Of course it chose just when they were beginning to spawn which meant they didn’t have much of a chance to escape and seemed to time it’s arrival for first thing in the morning, when we weren’t around to scare it off, poor froggies.