Rapid moult and tricksy aging issues
Saw the drake Ring-necked Duck on Lough Cowey last weekend. It had been aged as 1st winter. Photo of it here in early January http://nibirds.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2011-01-14T08:02:00Z&max-results= (scroll down).
However male ducks can moult rapidly and it looked really pretty adult male- like. Apart from slightly narrow-looking white band at sides of bill base (which may mean nothing)- it just said ‘adult male’. With a head shape you would never draw and be believed!
Do we get all our late winter wildfowl aging right? Are they really adult males just because the plumage generally looks like that? Unless the moult progress has been followed….
1st winter male Ring-necked Duck, Lough Cowey, Co. Down. Feb 2011