Your Birding Month
Birds to look for this month include Shag, Mealy Redpoll and Twite
Ducks are a handsome group of birds. And the Wigeon is handsome even by duck standards, or perhaps that should be drake standards. For though the reddish females (as in the ducks) are prettily shaped (think steep forehead and cute little bill), it is the drakes which hog all the lovely colours. The first thing to grab you is the brick red head with a buffy-yellow forehead onto the crown. This is played off against the pink breast and pale grey body and black rear end. And when the wings open, there is that huge flash of white. This is a handsome drake by any standards. They even make a nice sound, a slurred, whistled ‘weeoo’, quite unlike the stereotypical duck ‘quack’. And when a large flock start to whistle, it is really the sound of winter birdwatching in many areas. For these are common ducks in winter, with 400,000 individuals spending the colder months in the UK. A lot are near the coast, but there are also many in suitable habitats inland. Wigeon are equally at home on water as grazing on short grass etc, more so than other duck species. But they are often very shy and flighty ducks, rising in a great whistling flock, flashing those white wing patches at the slightest approach.