Warriewood Wetland Musk Duck

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Subject: Warriewood Wetland Musk Duck
From: "Carl Weber" <>
Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2013 23:46:37 +1100
A female musk duck was reported by Tom Wilson on Birdline to be on the
settlement pond adjacent to the north west corner of Warriewood Wetland on
Sunday. One, presumably the same duck,  was previously reported at the same
pond about 10 days ago.  These are the first recorded sightings at
Warriewood that I am aware of.  I went there today at about 11.30 am and saw
the duck clearly at close range for about 10 seconds, during which time it
swam away and then dived, giving me a good view of its characteristic tail.


I did not see it again.


This was a big surprise. Where did it go and how? For those of you
unfamiliar with the locality, the pond measures 100 m by 50 m, is very
shallow, and has a few isolated reed clumps along the edges, with a
prominent set of reed beds at the south end. It can be seen on Google maps,
adjacent to the inaptly named Shearwater Drive.


When I saw the musk duck, we were both at the north end of the pond. When
she dived, she dived due south. So, I casually walked around the perimeter
to the eastern side of the pond, fully expecting to see the duck sitting on
the surface. Not so. (Having since read up on the musk duck, it appears that
it swims cormorant-like, or even platypus-like.) I suspect that it must have
travelled underwater for at least 40 m, and then swam with just its head
above water for another 40 m, ending up in the area of thick reed beds.


I remained, looking, for at least 20 minutes, went away for an hour, and
returned for a second attempt lasting another 20 minutes.


The question that I have is: Can a musk duck swim underwater for 40 m or
even more?  


Finally, if you do go there looking for the musk duck, be aware that it
seems to have a very good hiding place, doesn't necessarily hang out with
the teals, Pacific blacks and hardheads, and escapes under water.


Carl Weber


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