Sunday, 2 July 2017

Jeziorki birds - hatchling update

The local waterfowl's breeding period it nearly over. The great crested grebes that I've been observing since mid-May on the southern pond have finally been rewarded with a trio of chicks - I am so pleased for them. It was worth the long wait.

I can see no difference between the chicks of the black-necked grebe and great crested grebe; both have black and white striped heads, with red patches between beak and eyes and a third red patch on the forehead. Like the chicks of the black-necked grebe, the great crested grebe chicks ride around on their parents' backs for the first few weeks of life, spending more time in the water as they mature.

First photo of the great crested grebe after the nest emptied on 27 June. Can you see the little head of a chick between the wings of the mother?

And what's become of the great crested grebes' nest, sat on for the best part of a month? It's now a hang-out for the black-faced gulls!

In the middle pond, the great crested grebe whose eggs hatched three weeks earlier is now swimming around with a chick that's almost her own size.

And now, the mallard ducks. The last of Jeziorki's wildfowl to hatch. Mallards have huge clutches - eight to 13 eggs! This female has a brood of nine chicks (count them! below), by the standards of grebes, a great result. Also taking a month to hatch, ducklings are precocial, able to swim and fend for themselves soon after emerging from the egg. Within two months, they should be fully fledged and able to fly. Unlike grebes, mallards are sexually dimorphic (male and female look quite different) and they can't dive.

Let's take a look at these four ducklings enjoying early life together. May they grow safely into adulthood and return to Jeziorki year after year.

Swan update: on 27 June, I saw all six cygnets with their mother in their nest at the north end of the ponds, below. Since then - no sightings.

Below: cygnet flotilla following mum, dad to the fore, scouting the way.

This time last year:
Brexit: where next for mankind?

This time two years ago:
Three hundred kilometres in a suburban train

This time four years ago:
Serious cycling

This time six years ago:
Outlets for creativity

This time eight years ago:
The day I stopped commuting to work by car

This time nine years ago:
Look up at the Towers of London

This time ten years ago:
Wild deer in the Las Kabacki forest

No comments: