Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Along the canal today (and yesterday)

I arrived just in time for the moorhen's shift change this evening.  I had sort of been aware that they groom each other but this was the first time I had seen this as part of a greeting ritual.  The male approached the nest where the female was sitting on eggs.  She spent several minutes giving him a good brush up before they swapped places.

Look who's turned up on Greenhill.  The big goofy looking Toulous goose and partner.  I haven't seen them here since about February.

The Chinese goose family look as if they have lost 5 goslings, and the other large brood a couple too.  Or... the other two were with the second female????  Certainly out on the water there were only the two adults.

The last two moorhen juveniles are still much in evidence but along the canal in general not many of the chicks from first broods have survived at all.  I'm now seeing adults on their own again which suggests the partner is sitting on second broods.
I wonder if the same goes for the mallards?  Very few ducklings have survived this year.  Each day there does seem to be a new lot of hatchlings.  The females are a bit conspicuous by their absence and the males are beginning their moult.  Some of them are looking distinctively patchy.  I imagine the females who have been tormented by the batchelors will be breathing a sigh of relief when the males become flightless for 3 weeks.  It might give them the chance to regrow the feathers on the bald patches at the back of their necks where the males have been grabbing them.

Here are some gosling pictures - some little ones and one not so little one now.

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