Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Wildfowl

With conditions still extremely wet under foot, Malcolm and I stuck to the tarmac paths this morning and headed for the lakes of Straw's Bridge. We were delighted to find that the footpath running under the old railway bridge, has now been re-opened after a long-standing flooding issue. What they've done is to raise the level of the path, leaving deep water either side.
The water at the sides of this new, raised path, has already been colonised by the ducks and by a myriad of tiny invertebrates which could be seen swimming about in the depths.
At Swan Lake, there were the usual suspects. Mallards, Mute Swans, Coots, Moorhens, Canada Geese and Black-headed Gulls. They were soon joined by a group of five Greylags (Anser anser), which arrived and made a lot of noise. They really are a beautiful bird - although they always appear to be spoiling for a fight, with a look which screams "what are you looking at?"
On the edge of the lake, a Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) was taking a moment to rest in the sunshine. A rather cute little duck, they are nevertheless, quite capable of 'sticking up for themselves' and can often be seen nipping about the other, larger waterfowl and stealing their food while the 'big boys' are busy squabbling among themselves. They appear black and white, but in the sun, their cheeks show a beautiful iridescence.
Back through the bridge, it was nice to see the other lakes once more. While the path has been flooded, they have been out of bounds for us, but not of course, for the wildfowl and the Coots were busy fighting like town-centre drunks on a Saturday night.
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