The jet lag has been mercifully mild so far this trip, and I even managed to stay up late with my gracious hosts last evening, so I didn’t make it to Kralingse Plas this morning until about 11. Happily, the birds appear to have waited up for me, because they were even more plentiful than yesterday.
At the plas, I got a presentable image this time of the tufted duck hen (Aythya fuligula) and her bright-eyed drake (on the left).
Closer to shore, this mallard hen was dabbling with her one duckling.
Just beyond the mallards a big tree branch reached down into the water, and both coots and grebes were using it to anchor their floating nests.
Here’s the grebe repositioning herself on her one egg.
As her drake floated nearby
Meanwhile, not 3 feet away, a coot chick rests on its nest as a parent stands nearby. You can just make out the blurry grebe in the background on the far right.
Here’s a better look at the incubating great crested grebe.
And of the coot chick.
Farther out on the water, here’s another grebe with two chicks well beyond their egg stage.
And here’s a coot feeding a chick grown up enough to lose all its crazy red “hair”.
Just across the way, a pair of grey herons (Ardea cinerea) were resting, and here’s the better posed one.
Lastly, here’s the image of a mute swan (Cygnus olor) that I promised you.
Finally, Lou Miller, who has enjoyed some birdwatching on this side of the world recently, wrote in to say that the bird I showed you yesterday, which I thought might be a raven, instead “looks like a carrion crow (Corvus corone), [which are] quite abundant in Europe. Compared to a raven their bill is smaller and they don’t have as rough of neck feathers.” Thanks, Lou!
Oh, before I forget, it turns out that stinging nettles are quite common here, and I really should be wearing long pants to do this. Good thing I packed some, and I only wish Lou had warned me!