Sunday, 27 April 2014

More and more mandarin males

The number of mandarin male ducks visiting the feeding station has increased this week.  At least four are regulars at one time and the old boy whose plumage is past its best spends a lot of time here.  A pair of mandarin ducks also visit every evening and as soon as the other males spot the female they are after her like fighter aircraft. She usually has to make a fair few attempts to feed before she is able to do so without being hassled.

 The old mandy sees off a rival from his favourite feeding spot

The boys spend several hours loitering on our boat and on the plank below, feeding on occasions, sometimes flying off for a while and then returning for more food and male company. I assume that none of the lone males has a partner since only one female ever turns up with her chosen mate.

 A fine figure of a male but he's without a partner

The swans have continued to chase each other and there are frequent noisy chases as the weaker swans do their best to escape the dominant male. So far we haven't seen any fatal battles, I'm relieved to report.  It's so distressing watching one swan drown another and we always do our best to intervene but it isn't always possible.

Another day, another chase

Yesterday we went to 'celebrate the life' of Colin Hunter, a lovely, much admired and respected friend who died last year . His family held the party in his honour at Garrick's Temple and lawn, just upstream from us, and many of his friends turned up to remember him and pay tribute to his memory.  Though this image is not of local wildlife, Colin cared about the environment and was very fond of animals, especially his pet dogs and birds both here and in more exotic parts of the world. The Temple, pictured below, lies between Colin's former home and our island.

Some of the many friends & family inside Garrick's Temple

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