Aqualate - 10 Jul 16

Shame there was not rather better light but you never know – if the weather was better the birds might have been doing something else.

A new nest under construction by a pair of Great Crested Grebes. Here we see just how ungainly this species is on land – legs set far back for chasing fish underwater.

More weed on its way.

In the rain the effect is almost like an oil painting than a photo. Here we see the ‘paddle’ feet used for powering underwater.

The male, I assume, on the left seems unsure what to do next.

Is it past the watershed? He seemed to discover what to do and looks as if he is enjoying it.

After mating both grebes swam off and a Coot looks to see whether there is anything to steal. I would expect that Coot have finished breeding now and think stealing the nesting material is unlikely.

A Mallard and despite superficial appearance to the contrary this is a drake – see the green-yellow bill. This is the ‘eclipse’ plumage to give it more camouflage while it renews all its flight feathers.

This duck Mallard has been seeing a farmyard-type duck. Her two well-grown ducklings show a white breast, never seen on ‘real’ Mallard – if such things exist.

My best attempt at the Common Terns here this morning. We can just about make out the orange-red bill beneath the neat black cap. Coots in the middle distance; a single Great Crested Grebe behind these; Canada Geese with goslings in the distance; and one of the Swans is with three cygnets.

The obligatory Kingfisher photos. It is still looking for flying-fish I see.

Why have I never noticed that the electric blue of the back appears on the nape as well – if the light is at the right angle.

That is more like it: may see some fish there.

Not so much a fish – looks more like a crayfish. The only UK crayfish – the White-clawed Crayfish – is in serious decline so perhaps I should hope it is not one of these. If this is the invasive North American Signal Crayfish then it is good news that it is being eaten, but bad news that it is present at all.

The Kingfisher seemed to have real difficulty managing something so large.

... tossing it to get a different angle.

... is that better?

... not really!

... another go – sadly the light was rather poor as it was about to rain and I was unable to completely ‘freeze’ the action here.

... but this presages success....

... and breakfast is complete.

After breakfast it went and sat, rather unusually, in the shrubbery.

Back for more food during the rain: see the drops on its back.

Light even worse now but this does look like another crayfish.

In the rain: this male Great Spotted Woodpecker clings on. Note how the tail is used as a ‘prop’.

Not only bird feathers are waterproof: this reed shows how it is done.

(Ed Wilson)