Feb 14th - Happy Valiers and Hello Mandarin Ducks!! on the ucd main lake.
40. Mandarin Duck.
Des saw 2 Mandarins swimming out in the middle of the lake !! Typically I chose this lunchtime to work through, but when I saw his email, I looked at my work, thought sod that and pulled on my jacket.
Didn't see any Mandarins swimming around in the open by the time I got over, but a closer look on the little island where the swans always nest gave a glimpse of a male mandarin's head!
Rang Niall and Ciaran.
I know that Mandarins are 'just' escapees and domestic and sniffed at by serious birders - but still, there was something different on the lake! A brand new species and a beautifully plumaged species at that, and once Mandarins arrive in places they do seem to stay without doing any other birds any harm (Phoenix park, the Basin.. other places I can't think of).
So this could be the start of Mandarin Ducks on the main lake in ucd and that'd be quite cool ...
Went down to the lake later during a break in the afternoon, luckily there was a couple feeding bread to the ducks which seemed to be attracting the Mandarins too, so I was able to see the male and female Mandarin out in the open and get some footage with my ipod.
I've seen Mandarins a few times before, first time was in Berlin and the second time was in Phoenix park. Both these times I've noticed how they don't usually eat the bread people threw to them, whereas today the male was diving right in there.
As for the Mute Swans being symbols of love and gentleness and together forever ....
It may be Valentines but as you can see from the footage, there's no love lost between the Mute Swans and the Mandarins, especially the female Mandarin.
That's what you get when you try to move in on a Mute Swan's nesting territory.
I've only just noticed that I should have turned my ipod sideways to video, this footage looks crap, but you get the idea.
Start of footage shows Mute Swans defending territory against the female Mandarin, the male Mandarin gets a bit of a chase, but nothing compared to the continual chase of the female.