Birds Water

A Mandarin Mardle Marvel

Mandarin ducks seem to have taken to Buckfastleigh.
This pair were slowly floating up the river Mardle into the town centre.

I’m seeing these wonderfully exotic ducks a mere minute away from where I live (next to the very ‘unexotic’ Co op)
The light lit the pair of them up lovely.
He hopped on her back for a quickie.
Then they continued floating around the dipply dapply shallow stream.

A sunny Spring morning and 2 marvelous madarin ducks.
A little ‘Spot of Time’. To feel content and at peace in. Sublime.

Vid & Words: Ian Nisbet

Muscovys mating on the Mardle

Down at the bottom of town a muscovy duck was roughly rogering his No 2 (mistress) His No 1 (mississ) was sat on the bank blankly watching.

Male ducks in general, and muscovys in particular, are brutally aggressive when mating.

No two ways about it, No 2 was going to have to submissively let herself be half drowned and allow this Mr Man do whatever he wanted.

And do her he did. For absolutely ages.

When it comes to rumpy pumpy it ain’t any fun being a female duck.

Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet

Swan sits on her eggs

I’m walking through Kings Garden by Torre Abbey. A swan was sat on her eggs. What a peaceful picture. Or so you would think.

Except for the ghetto blaster dinning disco in the background.

Except for the fighting dog that rushed in at the swan. Mrs Swan reared up hissing and the hound backed off. The dirty owner of this dog, a baseball-capped junkie chav, didn’t give a monkeys. It, and its slobbery beast, slithered off and away.

Mrs Swan reasserted herself on the nest, giving her eggs inside a little tap and turn over (just to make sure they were all right)

Songbirds were brightly twittering away around the swans nest. Mrs Swan gathered a bit more twig and grass around her and her eggs. Then settled down to peacefully sleep.

Well, I hope she could peacefully sleep with all this mindless din and disturbance kicking off around her.
I despair of us human beings sometimes.

Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet

Mandarins Meanderins

A mandarin duck floating about on the river Dart. A labrador jumped in and the mandarin escaped up into a tree out the way.

Half an hour later the mandarin plopped back into the river to be joined by a second male. The pair of them flipped about together upstream and downstream in the same bit of river.

Then some animated cleaning was undertaken. These mandarins have to keep their beautiful suits impeccably preened in order to maintain themselves at their immaculate best.

I like seeing these mandarin ducks on the Dart river flipping in and out of Hembury Woods. They seem more ‘au naturale’ than over in Stover Park.

Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet

Mandarins on the Mardle

A pair of Mandarin ducks have moved into Buckfastleigh over the last couple of months.

I’ve seen this pair several times at the bottom of town drifting along the little river Mardle.

The female appears to be disabled. She doesn’t seem to be able to hold her head properly upright. At the back of her neck is a ruffled ridge of raised feathers.
I’m wondering whether the male (her male) damaged her neck in some way during mating.

Male ducks (of most types) have a tendency to be violently aggressive towards females when coupling.

The male (her male) is very proprietorial. He’s never more than a few (webbed) feet away from her. He can’t bear to let her out of his sight.

Perhaps he’s her ‘carer’.
But more probably, he’s her warder cum abuser cum jailer cum jealously possessive patriarchal ‘boss’.

Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet

A Three Cormorant Triangle

Three Cormorants March 2019

Walking away from Totnes along the Dart river I saw this.

Three cormorants in repose on a fallen branch.

Equidistant from one another as if forming the 3 points of a triangle.

The cormorant sat on the waviest bit of branch was balding.

Three Cormorants 6 March 2019

Possibly molting. Or perhaps a cormorant crone, the old witch of the threesome.

The one sat at the apex of the triangle barely moved.

Three Cormorants 2 March 2019

Possibly overstuffed with fish if that engorged gullet is anything to go by.

Cormorants don’t seem to be confined to the coast. I’ve seen them at Stover Park, on the river Lemon in Newton Abbot, and quite frequently shooting up and down the river Dart.

Words & Photos: Ian Nisbet