Perhaps I'm being a bit stupid but this bird caught my eye yesterday in Cornwall. I am thinking that it is probably just a first winter male Tufted Duck but a couple of things are confusing me. Firstly, It was the only male of 20 odd that showed brown flanks. Second, I have never seen such uniform brown flanks with such fine vermiculations (also so seemingly unworn in late Feb when they are so brown). Third the short tuft seems to give a peaked head type effect. Several other little features bother me slightly as well: The form of the brown patch at the front, the lack of any brown other than on the flanks and the very unworn tail/tertials?.
Anyone any comments? Am I just being stupid or is this either a late moulting bird or perhaps even a hybrid - if so with what? Is there a hint of white at the base of the bill?
Anyone any hints on how I can imbed pictures too??