I was recently reminded by a fellow birder that it’s a very good idea to have a thorough read of your local area bird report. (I belong to the Glamorgan Bird Club, which has just published the 2018 Eastern Glamorgan Bird Report, its 57th.) So I did, and today that paid off.
Though the walk there and back totalled seven miles, every step was worth the privilege of seeing this bird (and half of that distance was in beautiful countryside, which was a pleasure to walk through anyway).
I’d heard that this male Mandarin duck could be a bit of a skulker, keeping to the sides of its watery home, frequently hiding under or behind vegetation, but not today. As I slowly approached, it swam away with a couple of Mallards so I grabbed a couple of quick photos, thinking I might not get very good views.
I was wrong. I walked on a little so as not to scare it and, looking back, saw the bird had climbed on to a log near the opposite shore and was preening. I edged slowly closer and was able to watch it for perhaps another twenty minutes. By that time, it had finished preening and was settling for a snooze but keeping one eye open to check what I was doing.
I decided not to overstay my welcome and headed off, leaving Mr Mandarin to enjoy his sleep. And I smiled all the way home!