I’m not in China and I’m not at the zoo. (I’m also alive in case you five or so readers wondered why the blog was quiet!) This Mandarin Duck was recently seen by a local birder at a lake near my parent’s house in Virginia. A private community lake, so this picture proves my trespassing. Apparently, one of the local residents released three of these beautiful ducks as a gift to the community. One remains, whether a result of the cold or predators. The lake is almost iced over and this little guy has to compete with hundreds of Canada Geese and a few dozen Mallards or rely on people breaking the rules and feeding the ducks.
Melissa and I enjoyed the cute duck for a few minutes. Check out those crescent feathers on the back–they are single, broad feathers!
Should I have reported this on my eBird list? Probably, all bird data is interesting, even exotics or introduced species. The eBird scientists would welcome it, but birders who use eBird for rarity alerts might become annoyed. Just recently on the Arizona-New Mexico bird listserv, someone lambasted a person who kept mistakenly submitting sightings of Northern Goshawks from Tucson (which I guess is a major rarity for the area). I wouldn’t be in the same situation and maybe I should grow a thicker skin. For the time being, I left it out, mentioned the duck’s presence in a comment, and can later add it so that only the reviewer will see the sighting and they can determine its status.
I did a fair amount of birding in New Mexico and two crane surveys between this post and the last. I had with me a fancy survey camera and I’ll post about all that birding when I can get the pictures. Some of them are worth the wait. So…just wait, I guess!