Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Anas Platyrhynchos

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.


  1. A well produced blog you have here, Jerry. Nice one.

    Many thanks for becoming my latest follower. Much appreciated.

  2. Cheers Dean, I like the way you report on your birding patch and with great piccies too.

  3. Super water colour, Jerry, what a talented family you lot are.

  4. Hi Jerry,
    I like the sound of this blog, you seem as mad on wildlife as I am - Enjoy it all mate :-)

  5. Hi Warren, yes mad is the word (in more ways than one). By the way I like your butterflies page, hopefully you'll get that Brimstone photo this Spring!

    Thanks Graham, way too kind of you mate!

  6. Keep on showing your artwork Jerry, it makes for a great contrast to the photographs. Is Thomas's chair fixed?

  7. Thanks Steve, yes Thomas is back up and running in patched up chair. Even wheelchair Services has admitted it's happened too many times and are looking into a more robust (but hopefully not too much bigger) chair. Mind you, Thomas does test his chairs to the limit at times! By the way, envious of your Spring Usher - must put the MV out again.