We came face-to-face with this fine cock pheasant when we were walking through Backstone Bank Wood, on the edge of Tunstall Reservoir in Weardale this morning. Just as we crested a ridge in the path, there he was, decked out in magnificent feathers and a sporting a threatening countenance - probably because he was comfortable sitting beside the path in the sun and resented being disturbed. Pheasant rearing is becoming increasingly popular around here and these birds have zero road-sense, sometimes dawdling around in the road pecking grit. I suspect as many end up as road-kill as are shot.
A little further around the reservoir we found this muscovy duck preening its beautiful metallic-hued plumage, enjoying the weak February sunshine and maybe dreaming of warmer weather in its native Mexico.