Rare duck makes a splash in South Tyneside

editorial image

A rare bird has paid a visit to a South Tyneside pond.

Melanie Summers was delighted to discover an unusual-looking duck splashing about next to Milldene Farm in Jarrow last weekend.

Mandarin Duck, South Marine Park

Mandarin Duck, South Marine Park

The feathery visitor is in fact a male Mandarin duck - a non-native bird which was introduced to Britain from China about 250 years ago.

Most are kept in captivity as part of private wildfowl collections - but a few have escaped over the years.

Melanie, from Jarrow, said: “I often go to visit the ducks, but I’ve never seen one like this before.

“He was in the water, right opposite the farm.”

I’ve not seen one like this before

Melanie summers

It’s not the first time the Mandarin species has paid the borough a visit.

Back in May 2011 one was spotted relaxing on South Marine Park’s lake in South Shields.

It’s estimated there are 1,000 pairs across the country.

Dougie Holden, keen birdwatcher and National Trust ranger, said: “Escaped Mandarins and others which were deliberately released would often ‘pair up’, leading to successful breeding in the wild.

Bird expert Dougie Holden

Bird expert Dougie Holden

“Breeding in North East England is recorded most years, but is still very uncommon.

“They occasionally turn up in South Tyneside and are always well received by local birdwatchers, as well as being a firm favourite with photographers.”