12th November 2014

While I’m looking at overwintering ducks that you might see on any stretch of water, wet grassland, reservoir, estuary etc, here’s the middling-sized and attractive Wigeon which arrive in their thousands from Iceland, Scandinavia and Russia from October. A few pairs stay to breed in Scotland and Northern England but winter is your best chance

Wigeon among the coots at Old Moor RSPB reserve

Wigeon among the coots at Old Moor RSPB reserve, showing the cream stripe on its head.

A male Wigeon (see the white wing bar) coming into full plumage

A male Wigeon (see the white wing bar) coming into full plumage

Wigeon, showing the lovely white edges to the wing feathers, and rosy-pink chests

Wigeon, showing the lovely white edges to the wing feathers, and rosy-pink chests

to see them. The males have a big white patch on their wings and both male and female have the lovely ‘punk’ patch of cream down their crowns, the shape of a mohican haircut. Their Latin me is Anas Penelope but I don’t know how that originated! They eat aquatic plants, grasses and roots and are worth looking out for. Conditions: Very heavy rainfall in the morning succeeded by drier, brighter skies. Temperature: Max 11- Min 8C.

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