Have you ever taken a closer look at Mallards?
It’s probably the most Duck like Duck you’ll find. I mean think about it, if you’ve seen only one Duck it will be a Mallard. Maybe your first encounter was feeding Ducks at the local park, chances are it was a Mallard. You find them on Rivers, Canals, ponds (puddles even sometimes).
But when was the last time you really watched them?
A closer look at Mallards
With there not being much else on the patch, it seems very low on duck and goose numbers, I’ve spent some time watching the local Mallard population, as they enjoy the autumnal weather.
It is currently – November – a very good time to watch this common, but character filled water bird.
The males are now out of their ‘non-breeding’ Eclipse plumage, and are once again looking resplendent in their breeding clothes. The grey suit, with flashes of green/blue in the wings, and hints of brown, and almost maroon along the flanks; the chocolate brown chest; the stunning emerald green head and neck, that flashes from blue to purple in different lights; all set off with the striking yellow bill (that looks like a dog at certain angles). They really are a beautiful duck if your really look.
The females appearing drabber, but their creams, browns, and greys, are perfect to camouflage them when it comes time to build a nest and raise the young. Easily disappearing into the waterside weeds as they dabble the shallow edges for food.
Ignoring the stunning plumage, timing now is perfect for watching them as they go about their daily routines. You will likely see some very odd looking displays. A speedy, half submerged, parallel swimming session; wing flapping, splashing dives under water; head & Neck shaking from the male; an odd head bobbing, piston like, mutual dance; some more raucous ‘adult’ action.
It is not quite breeding season, but these ducks are certainly pairing up (and currently none of the gang assaults on the females that occurs at peak times) and that is what leads to these interesting, and yet easily observed displays.
Time with Mallards
I’ve never been one to ignore the common. I’m not afraid to spend time watching mallards. In fact I spent quite some time trying to get one photo in particular, many years ago now. (It is a photo that I have Framed and display on every stall I do selling my photos – although I think I love it more than other people do).
But I would definitely recommend that everyone should spend more time watching, and appreciating what is in reality a stunning, and very interesting duck. You just have to overlook their commonness.