What sort of duck is this?

I’ve already done one posting about the walk that GodDaughter One and I did along the New River (further reaches of) last Saturday, and as I result I learned (thank you Natalie) about Pollarding. Here is another posting, about a duck which GD1 and I observed that day on the New River, and this time what I hope to learn is what make of duck this is.

Here is the duck:

Here are a couple of shots of the duck with his Mrs.

Here’s one of those shots where the principle of a good photo photoed badly is taken to its outer limits. You can see what I was going for and how great it might have been, but you can also see that it didn’t work:

Don’t bother clicking on that one. No point in that being any bigger, is there?

To compensate for the above failure, here is a final head shot of Mr Duck:

I don’t usually post pictures of wildlife on this blog, basically because I feel that I don’t have anything to contribute. Other people – a lot of other people – do this several dozen times better than I ever will. But this duck genuinely interested me. Until I saw it, I had no idea that such a bird was to be seen in the vicinity of London, looking like it had just flown in from Africa or Brazil or some such luridly colourful place.

And whereas, when you have a question about the modern world, you can usually now just type that question into a computer and up comes the answer in just a few seconds, that doesn’t work when you have photoed a fancy-looking bird. I’m sure that this will come, but unless I entirely missed it, the time when this works is not with us quite yet. I cannot now just stuff this photo into my computer and say: What brand of bird is this?

Perhaps this can already be done. In which case a commenter can tell me this, and tell me the result that he or she got when he or she carried out this procedure. He or she can tell me both about photo-searching, and about the duck. Win win.

Blog and learn. That’s the plan, anyway.

After writing the above, I tried typing “fancy duck london” into the www and asked for pictures, and a picture appeared in among all the irrelevant nonsense that looked like what I saw. So now, I know the answer:

Specimens frequently escape from collections, and in the 20th century a large feral population was established in Great Britain; …

Mandarin duck. Blog and learn.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

One thought on “What sort of duck is this?”

  1. 3 comments on the original posting:

    For future reference, there is an app called Google Goggles, which I just used to successfully identify the flavour of this duck from your picture.

    It enabled me to find http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/Mandarin_Duck

    Notice how the pose of the duck in that picture is more similar to that of yours than is the Wikipedia picture. I wonder if that’s why Goggles’s algorithm was able to identify it.

    Posted by Darren on 17 April 2016


    Google Goggles. Never heard of it, until now. Blog and learn. Many thanks.

    As I asked in another comment in reply to Alastair (here), does Google Goggles work for buildings? If so, I will be a very happy bunny.

    Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 17 April 2016

    The difficulty with searching for info about image searching is that “image searching” means three distinct things.

    There are images that have particular words attached to them, like when you type “mandarin duck” into google, and click on images, and get lots of pictures of mandarin ducks, and also lots of other more or less relevant pictures.

    There is the process of searching for a very particular image, as in: this particular photo. When trying to find out about my duck, I found myself being routed straight back to my own photo! Which was no help at all. It would help if there was a particular picture you wanted to use in a website, and needed to know who took it.

    And then, there is the process of looking for what this photo is “of”, so to speak. Here’s a photo of a duck. What sort of duck is it? That’s another quite different sort of question.

    I found the process of typing the right words into google to find about about the answer to question number three to be beyond me. What I got was a torrent of answers to the first two questions.

    So, Darren, particular thanks.

    Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 17 April 2016

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