Your Birding Month
Our five birds to find in October include Rock Pipit and Bearded Tit
AUTUMN SEES DUCKS reappearing after pulling off a remarkable summer disappearing act. While they undergo their post breeding moult during the summer months, brightly coloured drakes are potentially vulnerable (especially as the moulting of wing feathers impedes flight). So, they spend the summer as female impersonators, all looking dull and brown (in ‘eclipse’ plumage) and fading into one mass of sleepy, muddy duckyness, which causes most birdwatchers to look away. When they finally shake off their invisibility cloaks and emerge in their finery, the effect is glorious. Our ducks are among our most beautifully coloured and patterned birds. Take the humble, tiny drake Teal. It really is an exceptionally fine looking bird, with an exotically adorned red, yellow and iridescent green face, a beautifully vermiculated body, and yellow and black rear end. Of course, Teal have not just been ‘hiding’ during the summer. Most of them haven’t been here at all. The UK’S Teal population is largest in winter, reaching almost a quarter of a million birds, while the breeding population is 1,600-2,800 pairs. Now they are back and looking at their winter best.