Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Taste of the Orient

Over the course of history the fauna of the UK has been supplemented by various 'alien' species. Some such as Red-legged Partridge and Little Owl have arrived through introductions. Other species, particularly waterfowl, have resulted through escapes from captive collections and have subsequently established feral populations. A particularly colourful addition to the waterfowl species found in the UK is the Mandarin Duck that originates from eastern Asia and in China is known as the Yuan-yang. They make a wonderful photographic subject due to their colour plumage.
There is currently a UK population estimated to be around 7000 pairs of this tree cavity nesting duck. The area around my home supports a small population that regularly breed on a local lake surrounded by woodland. I decided to make an early morning visit on a short pre-work session. The light was a bit limited but their colours tend to shine even more vividly under overcast skies.
The site is regularly visited by bread wielding families that feed the ducks and geese and as a result the birds are accustomed to people and relatively easily approached. The perfect subject for when your time is limited.
I had two drakes in front of me but unfortunately no females, which although less colourful, are still a very attractive looking bird.
As with all wildlife photography a more intimate image is created by positioning yourself at the level of the animal or bird. For waterfowl the closer to the water level the better. Fortunately lying on a small concrete ledge allowed me to get the required angle.
The birds did not really show much activity beyond gently swimming around amongst the mallard and so I settled for some portraits on the green algae rich waters of the calm lake.
All to soon it was time to leave and continue my commute to the office. These colourful oriental invaders certainly brightened the mood for the long day ahead of report writing.


texwisgirl said...

they're phenomenal. i've admired them on a couple of UK blogs. they put our beautiful wood duck to shame. :)

Robin said...

Richard, Brilliant! Very beautiful birds and photos!

Chip "Rocket Man" Allen said...

Simply stunning shots of a beautiful bird!

NEL said...

One of the prettiest birds I have seen. All your pictures are awesome, congratulations.

Arménia Baptista said...

Fabulous pictures...ducks are my favorite...and this one is so nice!!!!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Richard these images are really glorious of the Mandarin Duck. They have some of the same qualities as our Wood Ducks. I love the lighting that was available for these wonderful captures, priceless~

Maelgi said...

hola Rich

has tenido la suerte de hacer la toma de este pato tan hermoso, lo que nos regala la naturaleza. maravilloso verlo en detalles , su plumaje. es emocionante.

saludos des el sur de America.

Hemera said...

Beautifull photos, in a very interesting blog, greetings from Polish.

Barbara said...

They are incredible.

Rich Steel said...

Thanks for the replies. Mandarin are always a pleasure to photograph, Mary the Wood Duck is another spectacular duck. Unfortunately they only tend to be in captive collections here in the UK.




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