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Unusual duck sighting

I have seen a duck on the water of the clay pits around St. Austell. It was swimming with a small group of female and a couple of male mallards.
I have looked online and cannot identify it. Word went out earlier in the year that a rare duck was visiting the area, twitchers with massive cameras were wandering around looking for it, supposedly it had been blown off course during the gales.
It is plumper in shape than the mallards, had a clear white head, mottled grey, black, brown back with clear white flashes on its wings. It seemed to be dabbling as it fed.
I am kicking myself as I forgot I had my camera in my dog bag so could have taken a pic. It appeared to be leading the group of birds with it. I didn't notice any black on its head and cannot remember if its tail was tufted, I have a feeling it may be a pin tail.
Any suggestions as to what it might be?
I walk my dog along that particular path almost every day and this is the only sighting I have had of this duck. The group was close to the edge of the water, I was only about 5mts away from them the dog's presence made them move away steadily. The mallards alone usually hang around waiting to be fed.
The bird's colouring was quite distinctive, making it stand out from the other birds 


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,807
    edited November 2021
    The best I can think of is female or immature male Long Tailed ducks ... see what you think

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • wild edgeswild edges Posts: 9,348
    I keep an eye on the county bird watching website here as they log all the sightings publicly. It looks like Cornwall has something similar which might give you an answer
    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
  • Thanks, I spoke to someone this morning who said there is a very tame all white duck on the clay pits. So tame you can stroke it! I think someone local might be short of a pet duck gone awol.
    I will check out the Cornwall web site.
  • Sometimes the tame white ducks crossbreed with the mallards … results are all sorts of variations of colour and pattern. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • I had begun to think along those lines myself.
  • This is interesting  

    However, I know that some 'unusually marked mallards' are definitely cross-breeds' as they resulted from witnessed matings between wild and domestic ducks on the farm pond when I was growing up, and I'm sure it didn't just happen on one farm pond in Suffolk.  :)

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • It certainly didn't, Dove!  Many years ago, we had a field station at work where duck behaviour was studied, and even though the (very large) pond had a huge net suspended over it, they still found a way (many, many ways, in fact!) :D
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
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