Spring fever shelducks

Updated 30 April 2014


This very striking duck is often on the salt marshes and at this time of year the males are in courtship mode.  IMG_2025

This is a low tide view of a pair of shelduck at Battery Point. The freshly exposed mud is streaked with the blue reflections from the sky.


This male was not about to let his female out of his sight and pursued her enthusiastically up and down the salt marsh.



A simple study in pencil and wash . . .



. . . and here with the background added.

Sexes are similar but during the breeding season the males are easy to distinguish by a prominent red knob above their beaks.  In between seeing off other males he displays to the female by drawing his head backwards and then performing and exaggerated bow.



These are striking, boldly marked ducks that are easy to spot both on the marsh and in flight. Their chuckling like call is also distinctive which you can hear on the RSPB website.






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