When both coots were away from the nest for a few minutes we briefly lifted the lid to count eggs and check whether the twigs we'd seen them carry to the box were being used. As soon as one of the coots spotted us it raced back to see what we were up to. As you can see, it was more curious than upset and didn't even 'shriek' or stamp its webbed feet.
As soon as we put the lid back the coot went inside without any fuss even though we were both standing by the nest box. I think that they are so used to us feeding them that they don't consider us to be a threat.
Coots take it in turn to incubate the eggs and there are regular shift changes. They are normally very protective parents but I have, once in a while, seen an adult coot peck a baby coot to death.
One of the coots about to enter its nest
Every evening a few very hungry female mallards fly in to gulp down some wheat after having been cooped up on their nests for many hours. They are often 'ambushed' by 'rogue' drakes that hang around the area for food. Flare Tail's partner drives any rivals away from his 'girl's' nesting area but the other drakes are plain opportunists hoping to mate with any female mallard unlucky enough to be caught by them!
A hungry mallard desperate for food.
Yesterday evening one of the females flew on to our deck in an attempt to avoid the rogue males and also in the hope of attracting our attention to give her some food. She managed to eat some food before she was chased off the deck.