Friday, 19 December 2014

Duck!

Walking around Shipley Lake this morning, we were enjoying the sunshine and marvelling at the amount of rain which had fallen during the night.  As we looked across the lake, a flock of ducks flew in and circled at a height seemingly weighing up the best place to touch down.  Eventually, they decided this was a good place to stay and began dropping out of the sky.  Dropping so far in a short time, involves a certain amount of whiffling.
Whiffling is an ornithological term and describes the behaviour whereby a bird (usually ducks, geese, waders and a few others) slips sideways in the air, folding its wings a little and zig-zagging as it drops rapidly out of the sky.  Whiffling is always spectacular to see and this flock of about one hundred Wigeon (Anas penelope) treated us to a wonderful display of aerobatics as they dropped to the lake and joined the few Shovelers (Anas clypeata) which were already floating about.
It was difficult to get a good picture of these beautiful ducks as they kept to the middle of the lake, some way off, but even at this distance they are gorgeous birds.  The male birds have a pink breast, a grey body and yellow forehead.  White wing patches show well in flight adding to the colourful picture.
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