Friday, 22 March 2019

Mirror Mirror



Blustery start to the Spring season sees Penny and Duke getting into the mood. 



Penny very much encouraging Duke with head dipping and side preening. 


This months high spring tide always seems to trigger Penny into a broody condition, and is the precursor to mating and nesting. 



Ritual mirroring of each others movements will be a regular occurrence during the coming weeks.


On a sad note, I had to have Limpy the disabled Drake put to sleep yesterday. His quality of life was poor and he was struggling to get around. He survived nearly 2 years and was good company for Disco, I'll miss him.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Spring Equinox Happiness




As I have remarked in the past, I am truly astonished by the Natural World and keep getting reminders of how great it is. Today is the International day of Happiness, and I reflect on what gives me happiness.  Keeping life simple, rejection of consumerism, connecting, observing, appreciating and love of the Natural world - my keys to happiness !



Today is also the Spring Equinox where we have equal daylight and darkness, this changes by several minutes a day as we head towards Summer time. It is no accident that Penny has decided that it's nearly time to start nesting again and today checked out her Island nest site.




They may not have clocks or computers but the birds can tell the time with amazing accuracy.
A reminder again that this Planet was theirs long before we arrived.  



This weeks High spring tide gave me the opportunity to dislodge a heavy tree stuck at the Merryton bridge, one less obstacle to cause a problem.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Nesting Season Begins



As expected, Disco the disabled duck has started nesting. Last Tuesday I saw that she was preparing the nest, and by Thursday she had started laying. This is pretty well in line with last year to the day. 


Today she has 3 eggs and I expect she will continue to lay daily until the full clutch is complete. Being unable to access the river minerals, I have been giving her Calcium in the form of Cuttlefish shells which she loves. 


She and her new mate are getting on famously, and all the signs are that many of the river ducks have also started nesting.  I hope that any plans for litter picking on the lower riverside are completed by the end of March - to avoid disturbing the nesting birds !

Monday, 11 March 2019

Sleep



Penny and Duke have been feasting and resting prior to annual nesting time. 


The last spring tide during March is usually the start of Penny's nest building season.


Meanwhile they are inseparable, looking great and enjoying the freedom of the territory. Short movie clip below showing Penny drifting off to sleep, giving me a reassuring snort of total trust, a real privilege for me. Note, the eyelids close from the bottom upwards.


Thursday, 7 March 2019

Happy Days



Wild weather today, with cold gale force northerly winds and river in spate. Seemed inevitable after February's good weather, that a return to winter was certain in this part of the world.


However there are signs of spring, with new grass, shrubs and trees budding, and Disco and her new mate happily doing what comes naturally on a daily basis in the garden pond.


 Still no egg laying but am sure it wont be too long before making the nest.


Meanwhile I take Limpy her disabled friend indoors from time to time for an exclusive bath. Short clip below. 

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Disco Has New Mate



Disco the Trust's disabled resident  duck, now has a new mate for the coming season.


Her permanent friend Limpy is unable to fulfil the role as a bonded partner, due to his arthritis.


The new mate is a handsome fellow, they have been bonding and seem to have hit it off well. 


This raises hopes that she will again produce some ducklings later this season.


The new mate has copied her stance and seems to be saying - anything you can do...so can I.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Picky Penny



Fast approaching March, and another nesting season for the river birds. Fortunately the spring like weather has not yet fooled many ducks into nesting!  The good spell is coming to an end and back to more seasonal temperatures soon.


Penny and Duke are still biding their time, but Penny starts to get a little more picky prior to nesting time. Her priority over the next month will be seeking out Algae and minerals, essential to nesting and egg production.



She is in Prime condition and showed it today by flying low up river to join me for breakfast.


Afterwards she chilled, chatted and dozed beside me and Duke - It's nice to be appreciated. 

Friday, 22 February 2019

Dashing Drakes




Early Spring weather looks set to continue for some time yet with almost summer temperatures.
Remains to be seen whether this will turn out to be a curse or a blessing for the wildlife. 



Some birds likely to start nesting early if this weather continues, leaving the possibility that their hatches could suffer badly if winter returns.



Climate change now effecting the entire Planet.
Meanwhile the Ducks are pairing and bonding, and the Drakes looking their best at this time of year.



Dashing Drakes - like many species the males being the colourful ones and the females having plumage essential for camouflage and survival. For those who are unaware, some females have two partners, and only the females actually quack!

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

On Patrol




This weeks Spring tides mean extra vigilance on the part of Penny and Duke. 



High water allows easier access for any incomers to launch a takeover bid for the territory, so Penny and Duke have been on Patrol ready to repel any and all possible incomer landings. 



The flared wing stance ,is a warning to any passing swans that they will be challenged !

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Duke Flies In




My long standing rapport with Duke and Penny has it's rewards. Understanding and observing them over many years allows me to often anticipate their next moves.



Today was one of those occasions when I guessed that Duke would rather fly than walk up river. It was feeding time and they were a couple of hundred yards away, but I knew Duke might take off and fly up so got the camera out and ready.





Sure enough he did what I thought, and managed to get a few shots as he approached to land just 4 feet away from me - 



                     I could see him judging where to land, it was so beautiful and skilful.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Valentine's



With Spring like temperatures, was nice to see the pairing and bonding on the riverside.


Valentine's day seemed to be echoed by the birds.



Duke and Penny enjoying their new freedom, and my Woodpigeon pals likewise preening and bonding, all very Spring like.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Harbour Check



Penny and Duke are now enjoying the brief interval before this years nesting season begins.


Having fledged the cygnets they now have the river to themselves - and the ducks of course !


However, they are making sure the cygnets have stayed away, and keep checking the harbour and channel in case they return.


Penny will now feast and relax until nest building time, and Duke will guard the territory fearlessly.