Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Aftermath

Rained in again, this morning. The weather is not good, but at least it is not as bad as it has been over the winter. This was brought to mind yesterday as I read an article about how our small birds have suffered in the cold. Our Long-tailed Tits have suffered badly. At the start of the winter, our fat-balls regularly had six or eight of these little, feathered beauties pecking at them. Now, we have just two! It's all rather sad.
On a brighter note, we had some wonderful views of waterfowl a few days ago as we walked around Shipley Park. It all started as we watched a pair of courting Great Crested Grebes (Podiceps cristatus). They approached each other.....
Then they started to display their magnificent 'ruffs' of reddish, rusty, orange feathers.
A few seconds later, they both dived beneath the surface, emerging with gifts of weed for each other which they presented with such care and delicacy, you just had to smile.
To end this courtship display, they suddenly rose up on furiously paddling legs and began to dance across the water. A more touching, fantastic and wondrous display, you could never wish to see. Such a privilege to be allowed to witness it.
To end with, we were able to get lovely views of a Pochard (Aythya ferina) as it swam among the Mallards on the lake at Straw's Bridge. This is a male bird and much more showy than the rather drab female.
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