Monday 14 February 2011

Aythya Hybrid, Valentine's Park, Valentine's Day

You know I said I'd be writing about Coots and Squirrels? Well, something came up. A duck, to be precise. I've never knowingly seen a hybrid Aythya before, and so as part of my ongoing birding education I thought I would go and see one. Hawkeye found a funny duck in Valentine's Park yesterday, and which may be the same bird that the Mo found at Berwick a few weeks ago. That one was mooted as Ring-necked Duck x Pochard. I watched it for about three hours in all, during which time it was either awake and distant, or close and asleep, with periods of very brief awakeness for which I had to be alert and ready.

I managed some close ones in the end, and on inspection at home, with Dave's photos on hand, I'm not convinced it's the same bird. Specifically, I think the white band above the 'nail' on bill is much more indistinct. Lighting plays a part I suppose, as can posture (such that the apparent rear crown peak can just disappear), but this looks more like the classic (perhaps a poor choice of word) Tufted Duck x Pochard, the Lesser Scaupalike.

What do you think?

Whatever it is, an interesting bird and I was glad to have the chance for a good look at it. I spent a bit of time scouting around for Valentino the Med Gull, but couldn't find him. We have been wondering if the bird on Wanstead Flats was Valentino gone walkabout, but I have since discovered that he is ringed, whereas our bird is not.

Anyway, next up Coots and Squirrels, exactly as promised, no way would I let you down. Oh, but first a Pochard.

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