Saturday, 21 July 2007

More ducklings disappear

What a terrible year it's been for ducklings on this stretch of the river. The mother managed to keep three ducklings alive for a week and we were just beginning to hope that they might survive.

Two days ago she turned up with two ducklings and seemed distressed and kept calling out as if she expected the other one to suddenly appear.

Yesterday only one duckling remained and today there are none

It isn't just the ducks that are having a disastrous breeding season. The coots have had yet another nest destroyed and today, with the river in spate, we watched a tiny young coot get washed downstream and away from its parents. They are now trying to build a new nest on the same plank they've used before. Their two previous nests, complete with eggs, were destroyed by the wash from speeding boats and this one is definitely destined for failure.

Bidou continues to visit us daily but she seems so lonely without a mate. The mute swans chase her when they see her and to hear her mournful call is quite upsetting. You can listen to some of her more subdued calls, with a loud one to finish during a preening session. It's not her full repertoire. She sometimes makes an amazingly deep booming sound before the high notes!

A lovely red passion flower in a garden nearby

During recent torrential rain some of the garden birds took refuge in the bird table and we watched a duck in the garden make a dash for shelter under the Acer tree when the heavens opened!

Young greenfinches arrived this week and make such a fuss for their parents to feed them. They're very attractive and I'm hoping to get some images of them. Meanwhile, a baby woodpecker appeared yesterday and fought with a parakeet for its place on the peanuts. It was amazing to watch their spat and the woodpecker seemed to be winning but eventually was driven off by the parakeet.

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