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SUFFOLK: Slav Grebe & hybrid duck

20th October 2012

We hopped over the border into Suffolk to Oulton Broad, where a Slavonian Grebe was showing very well. Despite its close proximity, a combination of overcast weather and my photographic skill managed to make the grebe look like it was swimming through tar, so enjoy these cracking photos.

Before leaving Oulton Broad I had a quick look around Nicholas Everitt Park for other birds to take awful pictures of. Amongst some Mallards of varying domesticity (as this wasn't underlined in red I'm presuming it is an actual word), I spotted this interesting looking duck. If memory serves, this is a Mallard x Red-crested Pochard, although I would welcome comments if you agree or disagree with this ID. I seem to remember one was seen at Cantley BF a while back. Incidentally the last time I was here (2009!) there was a different bird that resembled a female Red-crested Pochard, but was being muted as a Mallard x RCP, on the same pond.

Back in Norfolk we meandered through the broads on the way back to Norwich, the only birds of note being a small flock of Golden Plover that flew over near Acle.


  1. Yes, that's a Mallard x Red-crested Pochard hybrid. This one differs a bit from one photographed in the same park in March, and a lot more from one photographed nearby in 2009.

    Interesting how such a high proportion of indivdiuals of this hybrid appear to be intersex, showing male plumage characteristics and a female-like bill. Intersex ducks seem to retain their female bill colours as their plumage turns progressively more male-like, though the bill does change eventually (at least sometimes). I wonder if the 3 sets of photos from Lowestoft are all of the same bird - plausible if its intersex (it looked like a female in the first photos).

    Alternatively, given the number of ducks that are released for shooting on the Norfolk/Suffolk border (including several hybrids) it's equally possible that they're all different birds. I'd be interested to know if anyone knows for sure whether they're the same or different birds.

  2. Hi Dave.

    Thanks for the comments, particularly about the intersex ducks. It would be interesting to know if there are any similar hybrids kept in captivity so that their development and plumage changes could be tracked without the possibility of other individuals turning up. It would be handy if someone had taken photos between that sighting and this year - if it is the same bird 2010 or 2011 photos would presumably show the transition.

    For anyone interested that didn't see the bird in 2009, there are pictures of it on Flickr here: