Duck Tales, a birds life

Duck Tales

Duck is the common name for a large number of species in the waterfowl family Anatidae, which also includes swans and geese. The ducks are divided among several subfamilies in the family Anatidae. They do not represent a monophyletic group (the group of all descendants of a single common ancestral species) but a form taxon, since swans and geese are not considered ducks. Ducks are mostly aquatic birds, mostly smaller than the swans and geese, and may be found in both fresh water and sea water.

Greylag Goose (featured Image)

The ancestor of most domestic geese, the Greylag is the largest and bulkiest of the wild geese native to the UK and Europe. In many parts of the UK it has been re-established by releasing birds in suitable areas, but the resulting flocks (often mixed with Canada geese) found around gravel pits, lakes and reservoirs all year round in southern Britain tend to be semi-tame and uninspiring. The native birds and wintering flocks found in Scotland retain the special appeal of truly wild geese.

Greylag geese are easily seen in lowland areas of the UK all year, sometimes even in suburban parks with lakes but especially on low-lying grassy fields in river valleys. Wild ones, however, are found mostly north of the Solway and can be seen at RSPB nature reserves such as Mersehead (Dumfries & Galloway), Vane Farm (Fife) and Loch of Strathbeg (Grampian) from September to April. Wild breeding greylags can be found at Forsinard (Caithnes & Sutherland).

Whitlingham Ducks

Egyptian Goose captured at Whitlingham Country Park

Egyptian Goose (above)

Related to the shelduck, this pale brown and grey goose has distinctive dark brown eye-patches and contrasting white wing patches in flight. It was introduced as an ornamental wildfowl species and has escaped into the wild, now successfully breeding in a feral state. Seen frequently on ornamental ponds where it was originally brought. Now can be seen on gravel pits and lowland lakes and wetlands. The north Norfolk coast holds the highest numbers; also in areas like the Norfolk Broads.

Photography Tips:

When photographing wildlife, one thing you need is patience. Patience is important because whilst you can control the camera and equipment, you cannot control nature. Nature doesn’t always work for you, so position yourself ready for the shot. A good zoom lens is ideal and some waterproof clothing, sometimes you have to get dirty to get close. If shooting during the day, you shouldn’t need a flash unless you want to control shadows etc.