Rare duck makes a splash in South Tyneside

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

Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 5:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 7:06 am

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

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.

Mandarin Duck, South Marine Park

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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.”

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

Bird expert Dougie Holden

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.

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

Mandarin Duck, South Marine Park

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

Bird expert Dougie Holden