Last week I went in search of two rarities in town. Both are not only rare in AZ but rare in North America. This Mandarin Duck (drake) resides at Tempe Town Lake, just across the bridge in Tempe.
It’s a pretty big lake (for here) but he was the first duck I spotted in the water. No one quite knows his origins but I guess he has been there “awhile.”
“Mandarin Ducks are found in southeast Russia, China, Japan, and Korea. They were introduced into Britain and exported to many other countries. The largest populations are in Japan and Britain. Ducks found in North America are usually escapees from collections or feral ducks in small numbers. There is a small colony of Mandarin Ducks in northern California. Their habitat is marshes, streams, and pools in wooded areas. They are partial migrators, migrating in early September.” (Birding Information)
I have about 80 shots of him but I whittled them down to these few. He was extremely handsome, colorful, and small.
While there, I also spotted this immature Herring Gull, 1st winter, above. I stopped at another Tempe park after that, Evelyn Hallman Park, but spotted no more rarities or lifers, just these cute guys:
Stay tuned for the next rarity I saw last week…