In most textbooks ducks are compared to Mallards, larger than, smaller than, and these lovely birds, Goldeneyes, are smaller than your actual Mallard. My Collins bird guide describes them as shy. Not so the ones you will find at the Wetland Wildfowl centre at Martin Mere, but then you are encouraged to buy a bucket of seed to feed to the birds as you walk along. I have a favourite seat at the centre, a real sun trap, sheltered from the wind, suitably benched where you can while away a happy hour or two, and no, I’m not disclosing where it is. I enjoy my own company too much, and the company of these tree-nesting fellows.
Amongst the more usual Mallards, Coots and less usual Pochards, the most plucky and feisty fellows in this particular corner are these delightful Goldeneyes. There are more females than males in this group, which is not unusual. For a shy bird they are quite assertive when they hear the rustle of a seed bag. They are seen best at play in water or when diving for food.