We all need a little cuteness from time to time, so I hope you enjoy this photo, taken recently at Forest Farm Nature Reserve, of Mrs Mallard and her three ducklings snoozing on a log on the Glamorgan Canal.
Yesterday’s walk along the Ely river embankment was a mix of treats and unexpectedness. The first unexpected treat was the large number of both Sand and House martins flying low along the embankment: the air around me was alive with their close flypasts and their noisy chirruping. I’ve no photos of them – I was too intent on enjoying their proximity.
Next up was the sight of a family of Grey wagtails, two adults and their three offspring, flitting about amongst the stones at the water’s edge.
While watching the wagtails, I noticed the water churning at various points along the river’s edge. It was being caused by large fish, feeding on the weed that’s growing on the stones just under the water. Thanks to one of my Twitter pals, Tate, I later learned they were Thick-lipped grey mullet, which can grow ‘to huge sizes’ and which are ‘mostly a saltwater fish but can tolerate fresh water quite far up rivers’.
After unexpectedly bumping in to a birding friend and enjoying a chat to a real live person (a rare treat in these days of lockdown), my final wild treat was seeing these two Mallard ducklings, meandering along the river with their mother.
While it was a pleasure to see the Little egrets at Roath Park on Thursday, it was the other birds that brought me the most joy, especially because there were so many babies to be seen.
Cygnets, cootlets, ducklings, all at various stages of development, could be seen swimming, being fed by their parents and learning to feed themselves, and just sitting dozing in the warm sunshine.
Even the base of the Scott memorial lighthouse has become a nursery for a family of seven little coots.
I defy anyone to look at these and not smile!
After having the very upsetting experience of seeing a Lesser black-backed gull grab and devour, whole, a little coot chick earlier this week, I want to celebrate today the birds that have made it … so far. There seem so many obstacles in the paths of baby birds, so many predators looking for an easy meal, problems with inexperienced parents not caring for their chicks properly, and also, in some cases, a lack of sufficient food. It seems a miracle any of them make it to adulthood. Here are some that are doing better than most.
These Coot siblings are doing well, and are looking much more adult now they’ve lost their orange and red head feathers.
This little Mallard duckling was so cute, scooting along quickly, feeding actively, keeping closely behind mum. Fingers crossed for him/her!
You’ve heard of the ostrich hiding its head in the sand? Well, it seems this Greylag gosling is trying the ‘hiding its head in the nettles’ version.
Baby Blue tit was sitting on the pavement outside my house yesterday but quickly, though slightly erratically, fluttered up to the nearest tree as I approached. Luckily, one of its parents was nearby and flew down with some food. Its big eyes make it look surprised by the big wide world outside the nest!
This Nuthatch is the most advanced chick I’ve seen and was actively feeding itself on a tree in a local park, though it was stopping often to preen. Moulting its baby fluff must be an itchy process.