I've been watching these Ducks for a good few years now, but today I witnessed the greatest number I have seen at any one time...20!
It's interesting to note that the species is in decline in it's native Asia, but they are increasing steadily in the wild here in the UK.
Latest estimates are of around 7000 birds in Britain, which is now about the same number as Japan.
The majority of the British population of Mandarin's is in southern England, with isolated pockets further North.
I count myself very lucky to live so close to one of the very few Northern strongholds for these stunning birds.
Although the male of species really stands out with it's spectacular multi-coloured plumage, I've always found the female to be a very beautiful bird in it's own right.
At first glance you would be forgiven for thinking it's just a grey, rather drab looking bird, but on closer inspection you will notice some very subtle colouration...The white ring around the eyes really stands out against the grey/brown head and there are olive green and blue flashes on the wing tips. The female is also the more vocal of these very shy Ducks and makes a rather pleasant 'croaking' sound.