07 December 2009

Oh, most mournful 'Anas, alack!'

Six hours in the field, three in pouring precipitation,... laaaaavely! The day was made all the better for lacking anything of real ornithological note, although a Mallard x Pintail hybrid appeared, post-deluge, amongst the Mallards (perhaps hybrid ducks fall from the clouds, a birding biblical plague, sent to try us by the big bearded birding pixie).

Two things to ponder whilst you peek at the pics: 1. this appears to be one of the less variable and easy to ID hybrids (see the following for photos of living, dead and long dead specimens; and here for a smorgasboard of all manner of Mallard hybrid action); and 2. auto white balance is an, as yet, imperfect feature on the Coolpix 5100 (although, as ever, pilot error remains a possible explanation for the faux 'warmth' in the first image).

For the record, whilst this hybrid combination appears to occur quite regularly 'in the wild', the origin of the bird above is clouded by the fact that a Wood Duck hybrid was found in almost exactly the same spot a couple of weeks back (it looks like a Wood Duck x Wigeon sp. to me, however, I didn't see it in the field and am only going on the phone-scoped image below [when I originally looked at it on the phone, my first thought was Wigeon x Mallard, oops!]. Presumably somebody not too far away is: a. putting the wrong ducks with the wrong drakes; and b. totally inept at keeping the questionable results in their cages.

Image courtesy of a bull,... wait a minute, let me try that again,... Image courtesy of A. Bull.

Should you feel the need, images of various Wood Duck hybrids (including Wigeon and Chiloe Wigeon combinations) are here; Wood Duck x Mallard pics are here; and Wood Duck x Pintail pics are here,... the very epitome of bedtime reading I think we can all agree,... zzzzz.


Weekend Birder said...

Interesting artical in BB this month.Amazing facts- Mallard willingly hybridises with at least 2 species of Goose and about 41 different duck species.Also with Guinea Foul and chickens!Wouldnt mind getting one of them in Gwent.Were these delights you photographed in Gwent.

Darryl said...

These two were in Glos, just southwest of Oldbury Power Station.