I did visit the patch this day to see if the mandarin chicks were still around, however in the week i had been away, it seems the chicks had been predated, and the mother had gone missing, so i left the patch feeling sad about the first breeding attempt failing.
I was dropped off at Blackstone and i searched the area again, And there was loads of activity around the Hedges and riverside willows here, and after about 30 Mins of looking around, i was rewarded by a stunning Spotted Flycatcher Flycatching off an Oak tree, I always struggle to see this bird on a year to year basis, so to have one on the patch was great, the lasr one i had was 4 years previous when i spotted a Juvenile in the Autumn further south on the patch.
The Garden Warbler male that had been singing for week must have slyly Atracted a mate, because In the willows area there were 9 Garden warbler, Obviously a family party, and i was treated to some stunning views as i just stood still on the path. 3 Blackcap were here, including 2 females, but no Juv's were located, Chiffchaffs had started singing again, and The whole area just seemed busy.
However the highlight came when as i walked through a field ( adjoining a caravan site) i noticed a small brown duck in the Goat pen, i raised my bins to see a female Mandarin duck feeding away at the scraps of seed, food that had been left out for the goats and chickins, I checked the wings, and it had a full set, and while talking to the person that looks after the pen, she told me the bird had been visiting for over a week after about 8pm!!
Would the loss of her chicks have forced her to try to seek company with a goat, or has the draw of free food attracted her, as it has done with so many mallards in the past.