Wednesday, 13 April 2011


Another couple of images from Pensthorpe Reserve.

The Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata), or just Mandarin, is a medium-sized perching duck, closely related to the North American Wood Duck. It is 41–49 cm long with a 65–75 cm wingspan.
The adult male is a striking and unmistakable bird. It has a red bill, large white crescent above the eye and reddish face and "whiskers". The breast is purple with two vertical white bars, and the flanks ruddy, with two orange "sails" at the back. The female is similar to female Wood Duck, with a white eye-ring and stripe running back from the eye, but is paler below, has a small white flank stripe, and a pale tip to its bill.
Specimens frequently escape from collections, and in the 20th century a feral population numbering about 1,000 pairs was established in Great Britain.; more recently small numbers have bred in Ireland. Black Mountain, North Carolina also has a limited population.Although this is of great conservational significance, the birds are not protected in the UK since the species is not native there. There is also a free-flying feral population of several hundred mandarins in Sonoma County, California. This population is the result of several mandarin ducks escaping from captivity, then going on to reproduce in the wild.

The North American grey squirrel was deliberately introduced to Britain and other parts of Europe during the 19th Century. Since then, despite being released merely as a curiosity to satisfy the Victorian penchant for novelty, the adaptable and hardy grey squirrel has thrived in Britain’s parks, gardens and woodlands. Indeed, it has now become so widespread, that it is accepted by many as a natural part of our wildlife, much enjoyed by many people and perhaps one of the most commonly seen British mammals.
However, despite the obvious charm and appeal of the grey squirrel, it is now clear that it’s continuing spread through the British Isles is having at least three major impacts on Britain’s native flora and fauna, which are poorly adapted to withstand its presence. Most significantly, the grey squirrel has contributed to the catastrophic decline of Britain’s native red squirrel ,but they are also responsible for causing significant damage to woodland of both economic and amenity value ,and recent scientific studies have reported that they are having a serious impact on Britain’s already imperilled woodland birds

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