Ducking And Diving On Anglesey On A Calm Morning 27 January 2023

ring necked duck ranworth broad

A rare visitor to North Wales - female Ring-necked Duck - library photo.

Our friend David Wright, who lives on Anglesey had made an exciting discovery a rare female Ring-necked Duck at Llyn Cefni. Very few records of this American duck in North Wales so of course we were keen to see it.

The 27th of January was a flat calm day so we though it would be great conditions to look for a duck, the waters of the reservoir should be calm making ducks easier to see. We picked up our lovely friend Jayne on the way and soon arrived at Llyn Cefni, thank you Martin for the parking tip. A track leads through a conifer plantation on the north bank of the lake and soon opens up to give good views of the water. There were a lot of ducks here! We set up the telescopes and began to check through them, lots of Northern Shoveler, Eurasian Wigeon, Tufted Ducks, some Common Pochard and then we picked out six Northern Pintail – such beautiful ducks and unexpected here. More scanning and we saw Common Goldeneye and Eurasian Teal and then, yes! The female Ring-necked Duck surfaced almost directly opposite us, brilliant. This rare duck was feeding actively, near a group of Tufted Duck and Pochard, so spending a lot time underwater but in between dives allowing super views in the scopes. We always think this species would be better named “Ring-billed Duck” as it has a ring near the tip of the bill and neck ring is usually hidden from view.

We walked a little further along the north shore of the reservoir to a causeway that crosses the water and met our friend Grahame who was also watching the rarity. Two sightings of Sparrowhawks here was great to see and then we headed for RSPB Cors Ddyga via a welcome hot chocolate.

Time had slipped by quickly as it always does when enjoying birds so it was a short visit to the RESPB reserve. A lone Whooper Swan was on the flooded grassland with Mute Swans the yellow bill looking great in in the sunshine. Huge numbers of birds here with great flocks of Northern Lapwings, Eurasian Wigeon and Teal, many Shoveler and we also enjoyed two Red Kites and frame filling views of Common Snipe.

We enjoyed a lovely lunch with Jayne, thank you for treating us, and then headed home to do what we had planned to do! Birds first!

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