Rare American Duck Gets Birdwatchers Twitchy In The Mersey Valley

A species of American duck has arrived in the Mersey Valley at the Mersey Vale Nature Reserve near Stockport

First sighted on 8th October on the River Mersey west of the Vale Road Weir the stunning drake Wood Duck was still present on Wednesday 14th October

The Wood Duck is an iconic bird in the United States where conservationists put up nest-boxes to support the native population, they breed in tree-holes, but also breed in man-made nest-boxes

James Walsh aka The Mancunian Birder, a qualified ecologist at Salford University, said “This bird has not got any rings on its’ legs so it could be a wild bird, the Wood Duck population in North America is on the increase, it has been scientifically proven that a Wood Duck has travelled the Atlantic to the Western Palearctic and October is the peak time for birds flying into the UK from America”

“Wood Ducks are becoming a part of the UK countryside as a result of escaped or released birds breeding in the wild and it is also likely that wild birds are arriving here from America”

“Birdwatchers are flocking to the site to get a glimpse of this rare duck and local people are showing an interest in this colourful visitor”

“The habitat is very similar to the habitat Wood Ducks live in over the pond, a flowing water river with bank-side trees and vegetation”

“The Mersey Valley is a wildlife corridor with birds using the river to navigate along, resident birds present on the river include Kingfisher, Goosander, Grey Wagtail and Grey Heron, and some observers report sightings of Otter and Salmon”

“The Mersey Valley is a nature lovers’ paradise and the Mersey Vale Nature Reserve is a part of an internationally important network of nature reserves that includes Sale Water Park and Chorlton Water Park”

“We are blessed to have such a beautiful valley and ecosystem on our door-step”

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