Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Diving

Our walk this morning, was as bright and sunny as it was dull and murky yesterday.  Over night, the cloud had cleared and the temperature had dropped, so that we needed our thermal hats for the first time this autumn.  The blue sky was glorious as we headed for Straw's Bridge.
As we got to 'Swan Lake', we were struck by the numbers of Black-headed Gulls making their presence felt in their usual, vocal way.  Among these garrulous gulls, a small group of Pochard (Aythya ferina) were to be seen diving frequently into the frigid waters of the lake.  As is often the case, the male birds are by far the more colourful.
The pale, grey back and ruddy-red head is characteristic of this attractive duck and their numbers are boosted at this time of year, by an influx of visitors from eastern Europe and Russia.
Up to around 48,000 Pochard over-winter in the UK, so the eight or so birds which were diving for snails, insect larvae and small fish on Swan Lake this morning, was a good find.
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