Posted by: atowhee | October 7, 2008

Ducky day on the weald, that’s down below the downs

Dateline: East Sussex.  Our friends Howard and Jocelyn Makin took us into rural East Sussex for a gander at some ganders, a duck walk as it were.  Howard is closely connected to all my Internet-bird activities.  He is one-half of Pagination that built and runs my website, after all.

Bronze-winged Duck, a hefty fellow from down Argentina way.


The Bentley wildfowl collection is one of several scattered across the parks, preserves and private estates of England.  This one boats over 120 species in residence, many quite rare or endangered in the wild.  Bentley is now a property of the County of East Sussex and is located a few miles east of the town of Lewes.  The collection began in 1962 and then was given to the county by the widow of the landowner who built the system of ponds and streams where the birds now live and breed. 

This large, gray goose above is the Cape Barren Goose from southern Australia.  And this is a native American species I have still only seen in England, in Regents Park, London and now at Bentley:

I love those neck vents on the Nene, more pronounced than on any other bird I know of.

I can’t figure out which duck this is.  It’s about the size of a Mallard.

UPDATE: THANKS TO SOME HELP FROM THE EXPERTS AT THE RSPB I CAN SAY THIS IS A CHILOE TEAL WIGEON, FROM SOUTH AMERICA. This ID is courtesy Julia Makin who works for RSPB at the Old Moor Reserve near Sheffield.  Here is her blog on the work she is doing there.






Bahama  Pintail


  1. Wonderful photos, Harry, particularly as the weather and light were somewhat autumnally dull!

    Joss and I so enjoyed our stroll around Bentley with you and Kate, and your knowledge and expertise as a birder added a whole new dimension to the experience.


    P.S. May I add a URL for the Bentley website? It’s here:

  2. Dear Harry,

    Never one to ignore a challenge, I’ve passed the picture of the unknown bird around my office here at the RSPB in Barnsley (yes it’s me, Julia, aforementioned Howard’s daughter!) and my good colleagues and I believe it may be a chiloe widgeon.

    This then sparked a conversation about gulls which went way beyond my realms of understanding (‘Howard and Morley’, ‘DNA’ and ‘splitting’) so I trust that these chaps know what they’re talking about!

    Hope you had a nice visit,

    All the best…

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