An American Duck Is A Wonderful Addition To Our Very Sorry Looking 2021 List

Ring necked Duck close up

The drake Ring-necked Duck is a very handsome bird indeed - library photo from Scotland.

With another lot of books to deliver we headed west and dropped off an order on Anglesey so of course took advantage of being in an area we could see some different birds to the ones we see almost daily on the Great Orme in lockdown.

First place we visited was Llyn Maelog a reed-fringed lake where our great friend Ken Croft had discovered a drake Ring-necked Duck a few days ago. This rare visitor from North America had not been reported since the day it was found so we were not very optimistic that it was still here, but as we were so close decided to have a look. As we stepped from the car we instantly heard a Cetti’s Warbler shouting his explosive song from the reed-bed but of course in typical Cetti’s style the resident warbler remained hidden from our view. As we walked down to the lake a Common Chiffchaff sang his name over and over again and two Cetti’s Warbler teased us from the reeds again unseen.

Ring necked Duck 5 with tufted

Reaching the lake shore first birds we saw were a gang of Pochard off to our left then a group of five Tufted Duck and amongst them the Ring-necked Duck! Just like that, about twenty seconds to find the target bird brilliant, but just then an RAF jet swept low over the lake and the ducks took flight, no! We had only just seen this American visitor and now it had been flushed, but luckily the small gang soon landed again and we could relax and enjoy the views of this very smart looking bird. The duck were all too distant for photos but the views through the Leica telescopes were very good indeed. The Ring-necked Duck dived very regularly throwing itself forward out of the water as it submerged and staying down a little long than its Tufted cousins. We watched this lovely dusky grey flanked duck for a good long time and also scanned the rest of this good sized lake to see what else we could enjoy. Other species of duck included Goldeneye, Gadwall, Eurasian Teal and Northern Shoveler along with Greylag Geese and a Peregrine Falcon powered over. Some Black-headed Gulls circled over the water and as always we checked through them and picked out three Common Gulls and then a really smart adult breeding plumaged Mediterranean Gull – a real looked with jet black hangman hood and pristine white wing tips.

Ring necked Duck 3 with 1 tufted

We then north to the village of Valley to see if the recently reported Cattle Egret was in the cattle fields north of the village, but sadly it wasn’t – just two Little Egrets pretending to be cow egrets here. But we did see a Merlin tearing across the fields that put up a big flock of Linnets always lovely to see.

A quick look at nearby Llyn Llywenan provided good views of a Great White Egret loafing at the edge of a reed-bed along with plenty of ducks and both Great crested and Little Grebes. A male Reed Bunting uttered his simple song from a hawthorn bush on the edge of the reeds – first we have heard this spring. Two Long-tailed Tits showed off in the hedgerow right where we had parked – always a delight to see. Then all too soon it was time to head back home but a lovely change of scene and that Ring-necked Duck really was a very handsome drake indeed.

Of course a wonderful way to see more birds is to join one of our Birdwatching Trips and learn a lot about the birds you are enjoying too. We have tours suitable for all from beginners to experienced birders that are seeking particular species. Just drop us a line here and we can arrange a perfect custom tour for you!

We look forward to enjoying wonderful birds with you as soon as it is safe.

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