November 3, 2018 12:34 am
Updated: November 3, 2018 11:49 am

‘I pinched myself’: B.C. birders living the dream, as rare Mandarin duck makes appearance

WATCH: B.C. has its own spectacular visiting Mandarin duck

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Lower Mainland birders are atwitter over reported sightings of a rare waterfowl in Burnaby and Vancouver.

The appearance of a Mandarin duck at Burnaby Lake has drawn throngs of camera-toting bird lovers to the area, all hoping to catch an elusive snap of the brightly-coloured bird.

According to the Burnaby Lake Park Association, the colourful celebrity has actually been frequenting the area since May.

Birders in an online forum also say they’ve spotted the fowl in Lost Lagoon.

READ MORE: ‘He’s lost’: Southern U.S. bird spotted in Vancouver for 1st time, more than 2,000 km from home

Mandarin ducks are species of perching ducks closely related to wood ducks — considered by some to be B.C.’s most beautiful duck — and the errant Mandarin has reportedly been spotted swimming with its cousins.

However, Mandarins are native to East Asia, and while they’ve spread to parts of Europe, they’re not generally known to exist in the wild in North America.

WATCH: A Mandarin duck has mysteriously appeared in New York City’s Central Park

That has nature photographers like Linda Tapler salivating at the chance to capture one of the birds on film.

READ MORE: ‘A really big deal’: rare bird sighting on Vancouver Island has birders aflutter

“I came down and saw a crowd and I said, ‘Is there a Mandarin duck around here?’ and they’re like, ‘He is right there.'” she told Global News.

“I pinched myself. Is this really true or one of my dreams?”

It’s not clear how the eye-catching animal ended up in Metro Vancouver, though some birders gathered at Burnaby Lake on Friday hoping to catch a glimpse posited it was an escaped pet.

Metro Vancouver’s visiting guest is not the first Mandarin duck to make waves among birders — and on social media — this week.

A rogue Mandarin appeared in New York’s Central Park nearly a month ago, and has since captivated the city, attracting hordes of birders and curious onlookers and lighting up the internet.

The Central Park duck has sparked its own hashtag, #MandarinDuck, been dubbed a “rock star,” and cheekily called New York City’s most eligible bachelor.

But like in Metro Vancouver, no one in New York seems to know where that duck comes from either.

According to the New York Times, the region’s zoos have denied the bird escaped from them, leaving theories that it was an illegal pet that escaped, or that it had winged its way from New Jersey.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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