SWT LACKFORD LAKES: Duck into reserve to see some smart-looking birds

Pintail at Lackford Lakes by Suart Finley ANL-150602-155926001
Pintail at Lackford Lakes by Suart Finley ANL-150602-155926001
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Thousands of ducks spend the winter at Lackford Lakes nature reserve and during this time, they look the smartest.

Towards the end of winter, male ducks need to look smart to attract a mate for the forthcoming breeding season. This means the month of February is a great time to take a closer look at ducks on the nature reserve. Using binoculars (you can hire some at the centre if you don’t have some) it is always worth taking a look at how smart ducks can be and how many different colours can be found in their plumage.

Goldeneye at Lackford Lakes by Ian Goodhall ANL-150602-155937001

Goldeneye at Lackford Lakes by Ian Goodhall ANL-150602-155937001

Take a teal for example, this is our smallest duck but a close view of teal will reveal a smart looking bird with a brown head and a green stripe through its eye. These ducks also make a strange bell like sound that echoes around the reserve.

Another duck that we only get in the winter is the goldeneye. The males are black and white with a golden eye (hence its name). When flying around the reserve this duck makes a whistling sound giving its other name, the whistler. The male goldeneye also has a remarkable display to try to attract a female – where he throws his head on to its back in what looks like a rather painful move.

Winter ducks is the theme for our very first Wild for the Weekend event. During these weekends, we aim to provide visitors with an opportunity to get closer to our wildlife. For this weekend, we will have various duck-themed activities for all the family and there will be wildlife guides with telescopes set up along the trails, allowing visitors an even closer view of these wonderful ducks.

These special weekend events take place throughout 2015, offering visitors the chance to get a closer look as some of our special wildlife including dragonflies, butterflies, moths and bats.

Teal at Lackford Lakes by Ian Goodhall ANL-150602-155947001

Teal at Lackford Lakes by Ian Goodhall ANL-150602-155947001

For details of these events and some of the wildlife that you can get close to at the moment at Lackford Lakes, check out our blog at www.wildlackford.blogspot.co.uk

Mike Andrews is Lackford Lakes Visitor Officer

Pictures by Stuart Finley & Ian Goodall