Friday, 3 August 2012

Proud parents

For the second time this year Pinknose the moorhen and her compagne have made it through a successful hatching and are now leading a little convoy of tiny bald black scribbles up and down the millstream.

On the nest.

With the first brood we saw four chicks. Two were slightly larger than the others, and it was most unlikely that all four would survive, due to a combination of predators such as pike, inclement weather and their own general gormlessness. The millstream flows quite fast under the bridge next door to the nest, but given a normal rate of flow even the smallest chick seems capable of paddling itself back upstream. In the end we only seemed to see two fully mature juveniles around.

Moorhens are very attentive parents, and they share all child care duties. When the chicks are away from the nest, there is always at least one parent with them, while the other forages for tasty snacks. The parent-in-charge makes a regular beep-beep which reminds me of the rather unimpressive horn on the tricycle I had at the age of five. It is quite a soothing call and seems to make the chicks follow the parent and not go wandering off. Whereas the growling noise from Pinknose on her nest when Tim went too close with the camera warned the chicks to dive under her feathers and hide from the perceived threat. She made the same noise when Baron the tom cat went to sit on the parapet. He doesn't much mind getting wet when it comes to rain, but he hasn't tried swimming - yet.

Declaration de Travaux:-  Patio and Apero area

Dad built a 'patio' to make room for the growing chicks, but that was the cue for the rains to start and we don't think they ever got the barbecue lit! As a result of the much greater growth of vegetation, we are not sure whether or not the old nest was used for the second clutch, or if it was the patio that seemed more suited. We only saw the little balls of fluff today and haven't yet managed to count them.

Dad! Can we have a barbecue, Dad? Can we? Can we?
Shurrup! I've told you... it's raining! Again!!
All these photos are from the first brood.

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