Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 27/02/2011

I’ve been working the Red Eye Shift!


The striking colours of the Male Pochard plumage are such an incredibly contrast of hues, from it’s black and grey bill, rufous red head, black breast and tail, and pale grey body it’s a very photogenic duck.

Closely related to the North American Redhead (no, not Jessica Rabbit) and the Canvasback, the latter which it closely resembles, this duck is another winter migrant from Russia and Scandinavian countries.

Quite a number of the bird’s I’ve written about make the UK their home during our winter, the weather conditions in their home countries being far more severe than ours. More over it’s the availability of food, or lack of more to the point, that drives them in our direction.

Quite how these birds manage to fly the distances they do is amazing, I know if I’ve been on a plane (having had to carry my own hand luggage on board) how hungry I get – making their feat quite an amazing one.

Taken at a local Discovery Centre, this wild bird was wary of the camera but after a few handful’s of grain seemed to relax a little. As with Tufted Ducks, the Pochard is also a diving duck and seem to have a sixth sense as to when I’m about to press the camera’s shutter button. This duck’s sixth sense must have been malfunctioning (or it had been downgraded to only five senses) as it didn’t attempt any dives throughout the 108 photos I took of it (3 rolls of 36 film).

Birds have incredibly eye sight (even ones with red, bleary eyes) and I often wonder what the bird can see down the long barrel of my lens as I look through the view finder.Perhaps that’s why they’re always avoiding my gaze, with the Mordorian Eyeball staring at them it’s enough to scare anyone (except perhaps Frodo The Miserable).

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