Saturday, 14 May 2011

Moorhen chicks, Canada geese goslings and little yellow ducklings.

I think I lost a post somewhere along the line while Blogger was down - can't Actually remember what I wrote!  Yet another senior moment.

It is a very busy time along the canal, I'm taking lots of photos and of course they all need to be processed so it takes me some time.  Which is why, with Blogger down for 2 days, and me keeping busy, today is the first chance I have had to update the blog.  Promise I shall try to do better.

It's been a mixed week of good and bad news along the canal.  Most of the mallard ducklings born recently are conspicuous by their absence.  Very few seem to have survived at all and I see the females are mating again.  Mind you many of them are reluctant partners and have almost completely bald patches on the back of their heads to prove it.  I wrote an article Birds Behaving Badly that tells you all about those randy males.  There has also been a death or one of the white geese although I can't make out which one.  Could be from natural causes but we will never know.

And so to the good news....
Do you remember the little yellow mallard duckling from last year who turned into a beautiful white duck?  You can see her as she was then by following this link - .
This year, she has had 12 little ducklings of her own and 7 of them are pure yellow.  That means, with luck, we will have another 7 little white mallard ducks along here.  Two others are very pale and the rest normal mallard ducklings.  More of her pictures over on HubPages - New Duckling Pictures

Duck pictures by AnnMackieMiller: copyright 2011
White mallard female with new ducklings

We have more moorhen chicks.  I spotted these newbies along at the reed beds with both adults.  I think they are from the tree nest I wrote about - Moorhen Tree Nest . Certainly that nest is abandoned now so I suspect these are they.  I think there are three but they are very well concealed in the reeds so it is hard to tell.  When they get a bit bigger, they will venture further out.

The Micklethwaite moorhens are down to three chicks from their original eight.  The cows are still destroying the nest out into the canal and I noticed a mallard male had taken a liking to it yesterday.  The moorhens though have another nest at the other side of the bridge, under a bush.  When I saw it on Thursday I thought there were eggs in it, but yesterday it was left unattended so probably not.  I think it is definate she will have a second brood sometime soon though. 

Wildlife photography by AnnMackieMiller: copyright 2011
Moorhen nest under a bush
When I walked along the canal on Thursday my heart sank when I saw the Canada goose nest was empty and there was no sign of the pair.  I didn't think the eggs were ready to hatch for another few days.  Not to worry, along on Greenhill I spotted the female brooding goslings.  You can read and see them over on HubPages - Canada Geese and Goslings but this is a taster:
Brooding Canada Goose
but how many does she have under there?

'We are Four'
There are more Greenhill goslings along on the field, some of them really beautiful colours.  I can't wait to see how they turn out.  I am still processing photos there and sorting out families.  At one point there was a single female with two goslings with lovely black markings, later I think I saw her with a male and another female with a whole bunch of goslings. Yesterday, she was back on her own with

the two little ones.  There were also a couple of strangers turned up but I suspect they are from the orginal flock and have been staying along at the allotments.  The second female is still sitting on eggs under the hawthorn tree but I have reservations that we will see any goslings from there now - I could be wrong.

Along on the other side of the bridge, there are still two geese sitting on nests and a new nest with sitter was spotted on Thursday.  The goose and the big male of that pair are constantly exchanging 'words'.  There is never any doubt about goose pairings, they make enough noise about it.  I wish I'd had my video camera yesterday to record the noisy meeting of two Canada geese.

The moorhens along at the weir have no eggs but I see she is still harrassing him, so maybe yet... reminds me of the phrase - hen pecked - for this wee male is certainly that.

Well I think that about sums it up. I am always writing new articles and publishing new photos so I have created an index to store all the links.  You can find it at My 2011 Bird Watching Webpages  - this I will definately be keeping up to date so that is where you can find all the latest article links.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading about the life of the birds here. Ducklings are just so cute and I love seeing them. Twelve is quite a brood to look after for the white duck! You did well to get the photos of the moor hen chicks, they do stay well hidden when small. Love the way you talked about the goose pair, you sum it up perfectly !