Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Stranger on the Shore

Yesterday we spotted a new bird for our commune, and a species out of the ordinary for the Touraine at that. A Shelduck [Tadorna tadorna] Tadorne de Belon was sitting rather forlornly at the edge of our neighbours' étang.
Shelducks can be seen in wetlands throughout Britain at any time of the year, but are mainly a coastal winter visitor to western continental Europe. Our visitor has probably been blown off course by the recent storms.

Here's my profile

Tim had glimpsed this bird on Sunday while driving past, but thought it had to be a "funny mallard" - a domestic cross-breed or Cayuga mallard. The pond is almost completely devoid of covering vegetation and has few avian visitors - a regular pair of mallards, the occasional grey heron, and the birds we can't mention in case they get shot...
We checked it out on the way back from Chatellerault, and recognised the stranger immediately. We went back to the house for binos and camera, and walked cautiously back down the road to the étang. The bird did a nice little fly-round for us and went back to its original place.

And I look like this underneath
Tim has taken a load of pictures - more may follow if he has the time to process them properly.

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