Sunday, 5 December 2010

Water Chicken

Every year, a pair of moorhens gallinula chloropus (gallinules poules d'eau) raises a brood of black fluffballs on our millstream. This year was no exception, and we regularly saw two adults and two well-grown young poking about among the waterweeds. Moorhens and other gallinules are very attentive parents. In Majorca we watched a Purple Gallinule the size of a turkey picking minute fragments from a reed shoot and passing them delicately to a fuzzy chick of such cartoon ugliness that only its parents could love it.

As with many territorial bird species, only a pair of moorhens now remains. This afternoon we were 'working' in the laiterie when we saw the moorhens approaching down the millstream. They reached the bank below the cherry tree and climbed carefully up the slope one behind the other through the snow to the scatter of bird food (I've given up filling the feeder! It all ends up on the ground in a few hours). They spent about five minutes picking up this and that among the great tits and chaffinches. Then they retreated down the bank again and set off downstream once more.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Lovely. I can just see them delicately picking their way up the bank. I've seen a pair with than one brood and the older ones were looking after the littlies with the parents.