A pair of Mandarin, with possible youngster in tow?
Two Little Owl were calling to each other, from the old Oaks along the central path to the Lake, this afternoon, as I made my way down through the shelter belt. At the upper sluice I noticed an up-turn in the number of Teal on the water meadow. I saw six at first and then eventually ten – together with the pair on the Lake, making a dozen in all. A pair of Siskin flew overhead. I scrutinised the flock of bathing gulls, mostly Black-headed with a few Common, but no Mediterranean today. I then spotted the pair of Mandarin Duck, which have been reported over the past week, swimming close to the wooded western edge. I then saw a third bird which, even viewed from across the Lake, I could see was different looking – an eclipse male or possibly a juvenile moulting, into adult plumage. If the latter proves to be the case then this would suggest local breeding – the first in quite a few years, I think. I wandered on to the trees around the Ice Pool but there was no sign of any small birds, let alone the Yellow-browed Warbler. A Sparrowhawk along Church Lane was the only avian interest on my return home.
More shots of these handsome birds, first the female
Now the adult male and either eclipse male or imm male?
Post Script: From comments I’ve received I’m pretty confident this is a 1st winter male, and the first evidence of local breeding since 2009.