Both images used for Beeston Birdman’s wildlife calendar are female mallards. The brownish plumage, also found in the ducklings, camouflages them as a defence against predation.
Drake mallards are much more colourful as in the top left image of a group standing on ice at Highfields Park. The odd one out in the top right image is an avocet (taken in Norfolk). The lower image is a recent picture, again at Highfields, of an unusually dark female with 9 identical ducklings, including the light patch on the front.
FUN FACTS – The designer of the record breaking Mallard locomotive, Sir Nigel Gresley, is memorialised in a bronze statue at Kings Cross station. The sculptor’s original plan was to have a mallard duck at Sir Nigel’s feet but there was such an adverse public reaction that the idea was dropped. However, you may be surprised to learn that the to speed of a mallard in flight, around 65mph, is half way to equalling Mallard’s unbroken record for steam traction at 126mph, set in 1938.
Finally, we are getting regular visits from a jay in the garden. It is after the peanuts in the bird house. The lower image is a VIDEO CLIP. Click on the image to view.