Juvenile Shelduck?

I saw these on a river in May at the south west corner of the Brecon Beacons. One was just preening on a log, the other swimming in the shallow river. My first thought was juvenile shelduck but I'm not convinced. They seemed to have reddy brown heads with white and grey bodies.any suggestions?

  • Hi Tawera, I'm not an expert so wait for other opinions but my first thought was a female Goosander looking at the shape and red/brown head..


    Regards, Hazel 

    "Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again" 

  • Hi Tawera,
    Pretty sure they’re adult female goosanders. No doubt someone else will confirm this.

    Michael S
  • Thanks for the quick replies. I don't recall the beak being as pointy as for a goosander but maybe just my poor eyesight. They weren't too close. Also the head colour seemed to fade out like a merganser but wrong time of year for them. I'll have to see if they're still around and have a closer inspection.
  • As has been said, goosanders. Why do you say May is the wrong time of year for them?
  • Thanks for the reply. I meant wrong time of year (winter only in south wales) for the red breasted merganser (Mergus serrator), not Goosander (Mergus merganser).
  • Ok thanks. Would be unusual habitat for mergansers at any time of year. They are mostly coastal and estuarial. Much more likely goosanders even in Winter.