A tale of nature, wildlife and birding from Cheshire, North Wales and across the globe....

A tale of nature, wildlife and birding from Cheshire, North Wales and across the globe....

Thursday, 25 February 2016

The sweet taste of Fudge - Ferruginous Duck at Caldecotte Lake, Buckinghamshire

With a drake Fudge Duck having been present on Caldecotte Lake in Buckinghamshire since the 4th of February, and with Ferruginous Duck being my number one target bird on Bubo for over a year, it was only a matter of time before I gave in and made the 2 and a half hour journey down to Milton Keynes in an attempt to catch up with this extremely attractive species of duck.

Prior arrangements and a trip to Portugal meant the first real opportunity I had was last weekend, and after a casual drive down we arrived on site at just after 2pm. A smattering of rain couldn’t dampen our spirits, and we soon located the handsome drake on the South East end of the lake, associating with a group of Tufted Ducks and viewable from the wildlife screen. Fantastic and well worth the trip!
Fudge Duck - Caldecotte Lake, Buckinghamshire
Scoping from the edge of the lake, we watched this impressive drake as he began to dive for food, the white patch on the under tail distinctive as he ducked under the water. Moving over to the opposite side of the bank and viewing from the other screen, we were able to get much closer views, taking in the rich chestnut colouration and bright pale yellow eye before he eventually swam off towards the centre of the lake and over to the trees.
Fudge Duck - Caldecotte Lake, Buckinghamshire
Fudge Duck - Caldecotte Lake, Buckinghamshire
Having a preference for the far more attractive drake ducks in terms of lifers as opposed to the usually duller females, I had so far resisted going for one of the number of females that have been present in the UK recently – indeed, this has been the first relatively nearby drake I’ve been able to twitch since I first dipped a Fudge Duck back in 2011! With females present in Norfolk and Yorkshire, the regular drake in Hampshire, and a drake of unknown origin associating with the captive Ferruginous Ducks at Washington WWT in Durham, our Buckinghamshire bird appears to be part of a mini influx of sorts this winter.
Fudge Duck - Caldecotte Lake, Buckinghamshire
Despite the fact a known escaped bird has been frequently seen at Dinton Pastures in Berkshire, plus the suspect natures of two WWT birds recently, our Caldecotte drake was bearing no rings and appeared extremely wary – the real deal and as good as it gets.
Ferruginous Duck - Caldecotte Lake, Buckinghamshire
Alex's photo shows perfectly the lack of any bling on the legs
Being one of my top ten targets, Fudge Duck has definitely been a long time coming, especially since dipping two previously and only managing to see a hybrid Ferruginous x Tufted in the Norfolk broads a few years back. Well worth the effort and thanks to Alex for coming along (even though he has already seen 4 in the UK!) 

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