Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 24/10/2011

Mandarin Mix-Up*

Mandarin Duck, originally uploaded by

On thing I have noticed is how long these blogs are becoming (amazing how you can make one idea stretch out to over 500 words, mind you I know a few bands who have “one song” and who’ve stretched it out over a 30 year span) – when I started out if I managed to string 200 words together I thought I was doing well. Similarly, the number of photos I take per day has grown from around 30 per day when I transitioned to digital from film, 11 years ago, to anything up to 3200 in a single day! It’s just a shame that the quality of both the words as well as the images haven’t progressed at the same rate (so I’m more akin to Harvester than the Fat Duck – quantity not quality!**).

I hope the weather is kind for my visit to Marwell Zoo, tomorrow, I’m really looking forward to trying to photograph the new additions to the zoo, two Snow Leopard cubs. The Zoo have created a large open enclosure that resembles the rocky environment the animals inhabit in the wild – though of course the main issue, as with most of the more interesting animals, they’re only really active when the sun goes down.

Today’s image, of a Mandarin Duck, was from the batch taken at the end of my day at Barnes as detailed in yesterday’s blog. These ducks originate from Asia where they were once plentiful though because of loss of habitat (I do seem to write that a lot on this blog – I should keep a count!) and because they’re so darn pretty(captured and sold), their numbers have greatly reduced with around 14,000 in their main homelands of Russia, China and Japan.

The UK has become an unlikely place for these birds to have become established but there are now over 7000 adult birds in the UK, and so go to make up one third of the wild population in the world. These aren’t the only birds that have been introduced to the UK and which are now classified as native birds due to their increase in numbers, if you live in or around London you’ll be used to the infernal squawking of Ringed Necked Parakeets (or Rose-ringed Parakeets to give them their correct name – you’ll see why with tomorrow’s pictures on Flickr). Their numbers have swollen dramatically and it is estimated that there are around 5,000 of these birds. As with the Mandarin, they are a very attractive bird, if only they’d turn the volume down a bit I might even become fond of them!

* Mandarin Mix-Up – a 1924 comedy film starring Stan Laurel.

**Harvester and The Fat Duck are both restaurants in the UK, the former of these two establishments is a chain or restaurants famed for it’s free salad bar where people are encouraged to pile their bowls as high as they can. The Fat Duck isn’t.


  1. Beautiful!

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