Aqualate Mere - 10 Mar 17

Today I paid a short visit to the hide at Aqualate Mere. Rather quiet overall but a few things to keep the camera busy

A drake Mallard takes a bath!

And starts to preen.

All dried-out but still a bit of final re-arranging of the feathers for that ‘perfect’ look. Note the nictating membrane – an extra eye-lid – is closed giving it a white eyed appearance. Note too that the brown breast has a few blotchy feathers so perhaps it is not quite a full adult?

This duck Mallard has also been preening. Note here the spread tail – not often you get the chance to see these markings. The white-edged blue speculum is also well-shown. Note the bill-pattern and how it differs from the plain greeny-yellow of the drake.

This shot of a flying Grey Heron shows the large feet very well. Very occasionally in Spring we see a vagrant Purple Heron: on that species the feet are noticeably even larger and very obvious in flight even if the plumage tones cannot be detected. Under the belly we see a few ‘aigrettes’ – the breeding condition plumes. The bill-colour also tells us this is a breeding condition bird.

An immature Cormorant.

Here it is after diving. I assume that its partially submerged appearance is because it is very wet.

A Coot preening. Not often you can see the yellow spot at the top of the leg of this species.

I’ve said it before and will no doubt say it again: “aren’t feathers amazing?” And what a sweetie?

A male Reed Bunting in close-up. Still some pale tips in the dark hood so not in full breeding plumage.

A different male Reed Bunting – a rather more blotchy individual.

Another view.

(Ed Wilson)