As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Rare bird has found its own 'McDonalds' in Christchurch Park

PUBLISHED: 16:10 20 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:20 20 January 2020

A certain visitor has been ruffling feathers in Christchurch Park with people trying to find out where the newcomer hails from.

The Hooded Merganser is native to North America but has been spotted in Ipswich of late, bathing in the wilderness pond.

The male duck has a distinctive crest along the top of it's head with a large white plume against a distinctive black outline - closely resembling a quiff.

A spokesperson for Ipswich Borough Council said: "It has created quite a stir, lots of people have been down to photograph it as it is a particularly handsome specimen.

"The rangers think it might stay as the pond is its equivalent to McDonalds - plenty of fish."

There has been speculation among bird watching communities as to where the mystery visitor had come from as the species is native to North America.

John Grant, president of the Suffolk Bird Group, said: "There's a 99.9% chance that it's not a wild bird.

"It's very likely to be an escapee from an ornamental collection as they are very attractive - though the owner will be unlikely to admit they let it escape."

Short of stowing away on a boat to Felixstowe it's doubtful whether the Hooded Merganser would have made it across from North America alone.

Mr Grant says that whilst there have been some accepted as a wild bird in rare cases in Britain, this is not likely to be one of them.

Wherever it's from, the sightings have prompted a wave of interest as the feathered celebrity has reportedly been hanging around for some weeks now.

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