Monday 24 May 2010

The past, present - in the park

In most species of northern ducks the plumage of the males 
is much brighter and more varied in colour than that of the females, 
who need to be dull and inconspicuous when incubating eggs...
and most northern species retire to moult 
when the incubation of the eggs begins. 
This moult brings the drake into 'eclipse' plumage 
which closely resembles that of the female. 
He, however, remains in this state only for a short time 
and by winter has regained his handsome appearance.

This feather is probably from the little patch of coloured feathers in the wing which is called the 'speculum' - a distinctive feature amongst almost all ducks.

from the King Penguin
Book of Ducks
by Phyllis Barclay.


  1. Oh dear me no, just the word 'speculum' makes me cringe.....

  2. Interesting....
    While laying no kinship claims to northern species, I retired - and also moulted.
    I must hope for the winter metamorphosis.

  3. I LOVE that top photo, the colours........ the way the green of the feather is also present in the greenery growing in the between the slabs. BUT...... on looking closer, the feather doesn't actually look as if it is resting on the paving, so I am left wondering if you photographed it in your hand or stuck it into something. I love photographs that make me wonder........ (madness, I know..... )

  4. Yes you are right, I'm holding it above the old red quarry tiles on our back door step. I liked the contrast.

  5. Hi Lucille, thanks for all your comments. It's been lovely to hear your thoughts. The quote from Rumer Godden - well, I'm not sure which of her books it's from, as I got it from another book... will have to see if I can find out. Best wishes, Sue

  6. It's a beautiful photograph, the colours are just wonderful.

    Thanks for the comment re the animals.... funnily enough I had intended to mention the decorated elephants I had seen on several blogs about London. Now here's a surprise: I hadn't even noticed the way that the flower on mine formed an "eye"........ but having looked, you are right!!! :O)

  7. Interesting the variation in the feather ... pronounced beauty in the green.