Monday, March 23, 2015

Shelducks & sunblock

A pretty quiet period here on the patch, with not a great deal to report bird-wise over the last fortnight (and, despite daily efforts, the few highlights there have been have all successfully given me the slip); but for a scattering of Goldcrests, a few smart Scandinavian Rock Pipits and Chiffchaffs and the odd Snow Bunting, there's minimal movement at the second.

Regular visits to the Dams at this time of year provides opportunities to watch courtship and social interactions between various waterbird species, and few have been as entertaining and complex as those perfromed by Shelducks. As many as nine are presently in situ there, and as soon as the sun shines and the hormones kick in, they're obliged to start to duking it out, temporarily turning a peaceful wetland into West Side Story.

Talking of the sun shining (or not), the solar eclipse on 20th turned out to be mighty impressive, and a timely treat for our wedding anniversary; just the right amount of cloud cover allowed us to (somewhat foolishly) stare directly at the action, with darkness and temperatures descending dramatically. (Photos below).