Sunday 1 December 2013

Baer's Pochard, Osaka

Thanks to Sean Minns are in order for the tip off about a Baer's in Suminoe koen in Osaka. Er, a Spectacled Eider would be nice next time Sean.

There's no shortage of parks in Osaka and all of them seem capable of attracting a rarity. To be honest I'm amazed that there are birders going to some of these places. In recent winters there has been a Red-breasted Fly and a Brown Shrike each in a tiny, barely worthy of the name, park. This park in Suminoe, across from the power boat race stadium, is not only large enough to make it onto the map but even has a pretty decent pond. All the more surprising then that many of the ducks prefer the swimming pool!

The Baer's along with about 15 Eastern-Spotbills and 30-40 Common Teal were lounging by the pool enjoying the unseasonably warm sun when I arrived. Fortunately the Baer's soon took the plunge and came down to the deep end for a spot of diving. I'm not sure whether or not it was just putting on a show for my benefit, but if not the park might have a problem should Health and Safety pay a visit to the pool.

Having to take pictures through the wire mesh fence wasn't ideal but probably a lot better than if the bird were out on a big lake somewhere. The first two images are digiscoped before it came down to my end and I could switch to the camera.

There was some concern whether this bird was a pure Baer's or a Ferruginous Duck hybrid due to extensive brownish areas on the head but by later in December the head had become completely green. Clearly a brownish head into December isn't a problem and that alone shouldn't cast doubt on an individual duck. Images of the bird later in the month can be seen here.

Winter hols poolside, can you beat it.

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