The Gargeney is a rare visitor for the North of England, so we were delighted to see this fellow at Brockholes, entertaining our visitors on Meadow Lake.
The small dabbling duck is classified as amber under the UK Conservation Status, meaning it is part of the second most critical group of birds in the country. They are also protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.
Garganey spend the winter in central Africa, with small numbers appearing in the UK between March and October. Breeding pairs favour shallow wetlands, mostly in south and central England. They can be very secretive, preferring areas with lots of cover from aquatic plants. Unlike Teal, Garganey rarely upend completely when feeding, preferring just to dip their head or skim the surface with their bill.
You can be forgiven for thinking the Garganey looks like any other duck, but it has distinctive features which sets it apart from the classic Mallard. Males are unmistakeable in their breeding plumage, with a brown head and breast, grey flanks and a broad white crescent above the eye. Females are mostly brown, resembling a female teal, but with a longer, all-grey bill and bolder facial markings.
Look out for our feathered friend and let us know if you spot him!