Birds Water

Canada Geese Invasion

Queens Marsh at Dartington is being (re) created into a biodiverse wetland habitat: attractive for wading birds, fish, dragonflies, bats, maybe even otters.

Unfortunately, its proving to be a bit too attractive to birds that are fast becoming something of a pest in the UK: Canada Geese.

There were 200 or more grazing the grass and pulling plants out of the ponds when I was there yesterday afternoon.

A conservation attempt in the summer to seed several reed beds failed, due to all these marauding, devouring, Canada Geese.

It looked like the Pests Geese had invaded and totally taken over the Marshes.
Whats to be done? Corralling? Culling? Sending back to Canada?

Filming & Vid: Ian Nisbet

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The Washing of the Swans

Saw something down by Tor Abbey I’ve never seen before: swans giving themselves a good wash and spin.

No Daz or Persil Automatic was required to get their feathers perfectly clean, spotlessly white.

(a few mallards were giving their wings a little spin too)

Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet

Decoy Ducks et al

Decoy Park: home this early Friday evening to Coots, Moorhens, Tufted Ducks, a (juvenile) Greylag Goose.
Also swans, (not on vid) black headed gulls (partially on vid), mallards (only vaguely on vid)
Plus shrieking gulls and screeching girls (thankfully both gulls and girls edited out of vid)

I was hoping to see the Great Crested Grebe apparently seen here a few days ago. But no luck.
All that shrieking and screeching made it scarper. Go fly off for a bit of peace and quiet somewhere else.

Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet

A Pair of Juveniles

Identifying birds gets decidedly tricky the more you look into them.

Bird types can change depending on whether you are looking at a male or female.
Or what time of year it is.
Juveniles can look very different from the adults they’ll eventually turn into.

Take the moorhen for example.
On the left is a juvenile I saw on the river Dart today.

Moorhen juvenile 2 Sept 2018-horz

The moorhen on the right is the adult version you more normally see (I didn’t see that though) Its now got a red beak and looks less brown and more black bodied.

Likewise the black headed gull has significant changes of appearance on maturity.

Black headed Gull juvenile Sept 2018-horz

Juvenile here minus choccy head            Adult here, with a choccy head
Seen today on the river Dart                 Seen on Meadfoot beach July 2017
What makes a positive id of blackheaded gulls – both juveniles and adults – even trickier, is how similar to mediterranean gulls they look.

Anyway, here’s a vid of the juvenile moorhen and juvenile black headed gull seen on the river Dart in Totnes (next to Morrisons) today.
The moorhen, to my eyes, is like a fancy-footed water chicken. It was amusingly flick flicking up its white botty.
The black headed gull was in itchy twitch mode.

Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet

Little Egret on The Dart

Little Egrets are everywhere these days.

This fella was less than 2 minutes from Morrisons in Totnes.

Little Egret Sept 2018

He was taking selfies of himself in the Dart river

Little Egret 2 Sept 2018

Absolutely no self-esteem issues whatsoever.

You could do some serious stabbing with that filleting spike of a beak.

Little Egret 3 Sept 2018

He was only about 30 feet away from where I stood.

But his miscroscopic mind, his total attention, was on far more important matters.

Little Egret 4 Sept 2018

Warren Wonder

A Saturday afternoon on Dawlish Warren.
In just a few hours we were entertained and engrossed by:

Red Darter and Emperor Dragonflies.
Hundreds of Oystercatchers.
Six Barnacle Geese * (on the golf course obstructing play)
Two Little Egrets frisking about together.
A Kestrel hovering.
A flock of Linnets rapid flyover.
A Robin singing any other bird off.
A dainty stepping Mediterranean Gull *.
A Cormorant hanging its wings out to dry.
A Grey Heron preening, prancing, flapping, and flying.

* Barnacle Geese and Mediterranean Gull are new additions to Birder Brown & Birder Nisbets Twitcher Tick List (only another 198 birds/ticks to go)

A veritable bird bonanza is Dawlish Warren.

(Bad) (Mad) Bird watchers: Hazel Brown & Ian Nisbet