Sunday, 16 May 2010

New life

Young birds are beginning to be seen all over the place. I have mentioned the mallard ducklings already and I briefly mentioned the chicks of the Great Crested Grebes (Podiceps cristatus). This morning, after having another look at the Great Reed Warbler (the number of twitchers seems to grow each day), we were very lucky to get a slightly closer view of these striped headed little darlings.
The two parent birds were being kept very busy diving for small items of food for their chicks. The female parent was also being used by the chicks to take a rest and ride on her back. Even this didn't stop her searching for food for them, as this picture clearly shows, with one chick on her back and her head under water looking for insects, grubs, etc.
Great Crested Grebes have broods of between 1 and 6 eggs, so this family of three chicks sits right in the middle range for the species. A wonderful sight.
Brightly coloured and growing near to where we were watching the Grebes, were these members of the cabbage family. Wintercress (Barbarea vulgaris) is native to Europe and has very showy flowers and beautiful, dark-green, shiny foliage.
Remember the Wood Anemones I mentioned on 29th April? Their bright, white flowers are fairly common in British woodlands. Yesterday, we found a clump of Wood Anemones with pink flowers, not so commonly seen, but nevertheless the same species, just a different variant. Still lovely to look at.
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