Monday, 17 February 2014

Short, sweet patch-check

I knew from other bloggers' reports that I wasn't missing much by not visiting my local patch at all so far this year. But on Sunday the combination of sunshine and a little free time made it seem silly not to go and have a look. All the lakes were, predictably, full to the brim, and the Darent more a torrent than a trickle, but the actual trails were not too muddy. At least, those to the Willow hide weren't, and I didn't venture further than that. I saw very little in the way of exciting birdlife, but the light was nice and the Gadwalls and Greylags were frisky.

This little fella was probably the star of the show - the Little Grebe is by no means a permanent resident on the lakes here and as far as I know has not been proved to breed here. Maybe this will be the year (or maybe not, as there was only one of them).

There were several sedate paired-up Gadwall couples, and this unruly mob of several males in pursuit of a female.

It looks like she has made her selection.

The twosome went off to feed together, and came very close to the hide windows.

I noticed the drake had a hint of a white neck-ring, which I've seen on some male Gadwalls on photos before. I've also seen the view expressed that this is a sign of some Mallard ancestry, but there's nothing else at all Mallardy about this handsome boy.

Another Gadwall drake... well, there really wasn't a lot else around. No Shovelers, no Wigeons. A handful of distant Mallards and Teals, a few Tufties, one lone Pochard. A Kingfisher hurtled past but didn't stop, and didn't even catch a bit of sunlight as it went so was just a silhouette.

Oh yes, and there were Coots, of course. For once they were all behaving themselves, no Coot fights to photograph.

A pair of Greylags arrived, and swam over to in front of the island...

... where this happened.

It was interesting to note the very different post-coital behaviours of the two birds. The male struck a triumphant posture with head and wings pointed skywards, and gave a series of loud honks. The female had a vigorous bath. I suppose you would feel like pampering yourself after some thug of a male has just almost drowned you.

More geese - a Canada pair that overflew the lake. Also overflying the lake were many Woodpigeons, the odd Magpie and the occasional Jay, while in the field beyond there were a couple of Egyptian Geese and a male Pheasant.

The resident Mute pair were gliding regally about, and occasionally giving chase to a juvenile Mute which presumably is their offspring from last year and should really be moving on by now.

Unfortunately the Mute in angry mode was too close for my lens, so here is his angry wing instead.

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

Any kind of Duck on my patch would be most welcome Marianne, ok not a Mallard I get those :-)