Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Blustery days

Good days for sailing

We've had very squally weather over the last couple of weeks with quieter periods in between. The strength of the gusts last night was impressive - fortunately all is safe and in one piece this morning. The local sailing clubs have had some ideal weather conditions for their Sunday races. The above are Hampton dinghies, making the most of the brisk ,breezy weather.

Male mandarin duck

Only one pair of mandarin ducks visits us regularly at the moment. They always wait to be fed on the front deck rather than at the back of the house for the first feed of the day. The female is so much daintier than a female mallard but she can usually keep her place in the pecking order.
The male isn't so bold and flies off the deck when I put out food but his partner stands at the patio doors and stares in at me when she wants more wheat.

Dangerous territory

Territorial battles between mute swans have been less frequent this winter but occasionally the dominant pair takes exception to any intruder that strays into their territory. When they've driven off potential rivals they continue to flare their wings and flex their necks until they're sure there's no longer a threat.

After an absence of months the squirrel is back, raiding the bird table for sunflower hearts every morning. I had bought a bird table that was designed to foil large birds and squirrels but magpies, pigeons and the squirrel refuse to be deterred by the extra bars. Today I've delayed putting out food until the squirrel gets bored and goes elsewhere!

It's months away from the nesting season but Lonely inspects the two duck nesting boxes every day. Perhaps it's her way of laying claim to at least one of them. A hybrid male duck (one of the brown and white ones like Gobi) also spends a fair amount of time on the ramp of the nest box last used by Goldeneye.

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