Phew! Good thing I saved some pictures from yesterday, because the weather here has returned to its dark and dreary self this morning. In any case, on to the water birds, and the ubiquitous Eurasian coot deserves top billing. If there’s only one bird in a body of water around here, odds are that it’s a coot. Oddly enough, unlike the mallards and gulls, they seem to ignore human sources of food and stick to their strict diet of foraged greens. Probably a lot healthier, eh?
I was a little surprised by the number of great cormorants on the river Schie yesterday, but there was at least a half dozen, probably more, and here’s one drying out its feathers after a swim. It had its wings extended as I approached, but tucked them in when I tried to get a picture.
There was only one Egyptian goose, and it seemed lonely because it was calling from the top of this chimney.
By far the most common gull in town are these cute little black-faced gulls in their winter plumage. There were also a couple of herring gulls, whom we see in Estabrook, and they are nearly twice the size.
Every once in a while, one or two of the coots turn out to be moorhens. Besides the subtle visual differences, they are slightly smaller, and tend to stick near or up on shore.
There were about as many great crested grebes fishing in the river as cormorants, but they don’t need to dry out their feathers so I hardly ever see one out of the water.
The only ducks in town are mallards, or mallard-domestic hybrids, and this sweetie was keeping an eye on me, just as her counterparts in Estabrook do.
There is still one grey heron hanging (standing) around on the river bank. I haven’t caught it fishing in a while, but the fishing must be good enough to keep it here.
Finally, it appears that at least one grebe is getting a jump on breeding season and nesting already! I was surprised by how late into the summer/fall I saw them with chicks, and perhaps this is just the other side to that same coin. Anyway, this is about the only excuse I’ve seen a grebe use to get out of the water.
These are most of the critters I get to see as I walk along the river from my place to the north end of town and back, about 2.5 miles round trip. I nice variety, right? I had also hoped to see the pair of mute swans that I’ve seen on the canals in town lately, but they eluded me yesterday morning. Wish me luck today!