Greenwich Wildlife (5)
Is it ‘wildlife?’
Well it could be. Paul sent me this Mandarin Duck that he spotted in Maryon Wilson Park. Chances are there’s another of them just out of shot as they are romantics of the bird world.
Because they’re so attractive, they’ve been used as ornaments in lakes for years, and every so often, a young couple pair up, obviously against their parents’ wishes, and secretly elope. They may be endangered in their native Russia and China, due to deforestation, but Russia and China’s loss is our gain.
There are about 1,000 wild breeding pairs in Britain, apparently – and though these may have been brought in to Maryon Wilson for pretty, they could also be of those lost young couples, desperate for a pond to call their own, Wild or not, they’re still helping keep up the world population.
We have to be extra careful with them, though, as they’re not protected birds here, despite their worldwide decline. That’s because they’re not technically native British birds. Cue one of those 1950s B Movies about misunderstood teenagers…
For the Chinese, they are symbols of love and wedded harmony as they are said to mate for life. Ahhh…