Yesterday was the first time I knowingly saw a garganey duck. It was among the black headed gulls on Haydn’s pool in Anderton Country Park. What a pretty bird!
According to the RSPB, the garganey is a scarce and very secretive breeding duck in the UK, smaller than a mallard, mostly found March-July in central and southern England. And there it was, up here in the north west and clearly visible in the binoculars I usually carry hanging unused around my neck. I guess that climate change means that birds such as this will gradually appear further north than in the past.
There is an absurd delight in seeing ‘new’ birds, which is I suppose why ‘birders’ (which I am not) go to extreme lengths to see them. It reminds me of the absurd pleasure of seeing a ‘new’ streak (A-class) in my trainspotting days in the 1950s. [One was called ‘Mallard’, but ‘Garganey’ was far too rare to make it.]
There’s a much more gentle pleasure in just being there, a part of nature, and observing the birdlife get on with its business, always something to learn. To the 1950s child, observing the wonderful technology of the steam engines was a similar sort of experience, soon brutally cut short by the end of the age of steam. Which I guess goes to show how easily we are diverted by the wonders of technology away from our connection with the natural world. Today we need both!
The featured image of a garganey is not by me (sadly) but by Luciano 95 via Wikimedia Commons