A muddy tale of a tailess bird

Lying in the mud meant I had to turn up for lunch at Cley reserve centre looking less than my debonair self. I wish.

Carrying my camera along the muddy path aside the Glaven channel meant an uncomfortable three quarters of a mile walk slipping and sliding and generally struggling to keep an upright posture. Having talked to a photographer who was returning, walking the opposite way, I was told the Long tailed Duck was viewable but only at some 500m. Despite the disappointment of only being able to photograph the bird at such a distance I decided to go ahead and at least get a record shot of the bird. Long tailed Ducks are not rare especially further north in the UK but to get close to one within Norfolk doesn’t happen often.

It didn’t take long to find the bird sitting in the middle of the channel. I decided to walk past it and find an area where the channel was closer to the path where I could sit quietly and let the bird come my way. If it didn’t I’d lost nothing and still had my record shot. I found what looked like a good place to sit and waited. A group of Teal came by so I hid; lying flat on the ground. If I spooked the Teal the Long tailed Duck would never come close. ‘Long tailed Duck’ by the way in this instance is a complete misnomer as no long tail was evident – she was female and therefore lacked the Oldsquaw feathering of the male. As the duck dived and fed she came closer and closer and eventually sailed by. No doubt in complete ignorance there was someone admiring her nearby getting exceptionally muddy.

Long tailed Duck

4 Responses to “A muddy tale of a tailess bird”

  1. 1 andrew campbell
    Feb 20, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Most interesting. I know the area but haven’t seen very much there …yet. Thanks again.

  2. 3 Ian Gordon
    Feb 21, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Hi Carl,
    Looks like a ringer to me. No long tail, etc. Only joking. I reckon all female ducks should be lumped together under a generic term “brown duck – female”. They are the BBj’s (big brown jobs). All we get is freezing cold fingers leafing through our Collin’s in a freezing cold hide!.
    Good hunting. The mud goes with the turf!.
    Best Regards.

    • Feb 24, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      Hi Ian – you’re right the mud does go with the turf. I appear to be extracting half of the North Norfolk Coast from the Landrover these days! Hope you’re keeping well.

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Feb 2013


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