NATURE lovers have been flocking to a Renfrewshire beauty spot to catch a glimpse of a duck that is rarely seen in Scotland.

The arrival of the vibrantly-coloured North American wood duck at the RSPB reserve in Lochwinnoch has had twitchers in a real flap.

Wildlife enthusiast and keen photographer Mik Coia, from Houston, is among those who have winged their way to the beauty spot to take some snaps of the unusual visitor.

Mik made the short trip to Lochwinnoch after he was told about the male duck’s arrival.

And he was thrilled to spot his feathered friend swimming at Castle Semple Loch.

Mik told The Gazette: “I was out in the car with my wife, trying to get some autumn shots, and she reminded me about the duck in Lochwinnoch, so we drove down to the loch to see if we could find it.

“When we arrived around mid-afternoon, there was another photographer taking pictures of it near the grassy area close to the entrance of the car park. 

“There’s only one of them and it’s hard to spot unless you’re really looking for it, as it just swims amongst all the mallard ducks.

“The other photographer told me it’s likely the duck escaped from a private collection, as you don’t normally find them in this country.”

The wood duck is said to be one of the most stunningly pretty of all waterfowl.

Males are iridescent chestnut and green, with ornate patterns on nearly every feather, while the elegant females have a distinctive profile and delicate white pattern around the eye.

They normally live in wooded swamps and are one of the few duck species equipped with strong claws that can grip bark and perch on branches.

Kaniz Hyat, of the Scottish SPCA National Wildlife Centre, said Lochwinnoch is lucky to have its new tourist attraction.

She added: “It is quite rare to come across a North American wood duck in Scotland, so any sightings usually get bird-spotters very excited.

“Unlike most ducks, wood ducks are known to build their nests in tree holes.

“It makes sense that the bird was spotted at Castle Semple Loch, as the conditions will be close to their natural habitat.

“We couldn’t say for sure how the duck came to be there but it is definitely a rare surprise.”