Don't worry, Anas Platyrhynchos is not an obscure medical term for hemorrhoids; it's actually the Latin name for our commonest duck, the Mallard. I've already bumped into some great birds so far this year, such as Owls, Harriers, Partridges etc. but perhaps my bird of the month so far is the Mallard.
Down at the Patch on the 2nd January, the sunlight was at times, stunningly clear and bright and it showed off the superb iridescence on the drake Mallards' head, speculum and breast.
This iridescence is created by light waves glancing off microscopic granules in the feather barbs and creating wonderful electric blues, greens a purples, so the better the light, the better the colours!
While painting this, I was quite pleased with the colours I had chosen, but with watercolour, I often forget to 'notch up' the colours because they tend to recede as it dries, as here.
Locally, most Mallards are pretty tame but up at Sheppey, when I carefully opened a hide flap, it was the Mallards that instantly and nervously took to flight. These birds however, will have been among the hundres of thousands that visit the UK for the Winter months only and breed in the far North of Europe and Iceland.