Sunday, 5 April 2015

Return of the moorhens

Once again the moorhens gallinula chloropus gallinules poules-d'eau are building a nest on the millstream outside our bedroom window. One bird (probably the female) is directing operations and weaving twigs into the cushion shape that will be the base of the nest. The other (the male) is doing most of the fetching and carrying.

Now don't tug, dear
We cannot tell whether or not this female is Myrtle, our soap opera star from last year, or one of her daughters. The male may well be inexperienced, because last year's male disappeared before the chicks hatched.

I'll just go and get some more, dear, is that right?
The flag iris, site of the moorhen nest for the past three years, is this year spread out across the stream bed, and looks unlikely to produce enough cover for the birds. This nest is an innovation, set upon a stone, possibly a piece of masonry from the old forge. However, as Tim puts it, they will have to go up another six inches to be in with a chance.

There's a nice twig over there ...
Did you know that moorhens have teeth? And scarlet underpants?
Presently the water is clearer than we have seen it for years, and there is plenty of waterweed. Today we heard the clear whistle of a kingfisher for the first time since autumn last year. The mallards anas platyrhynchos canards colvert are nesting a little further upstream than last year. The duck is as dignified and the drake as attentive as ever. It's getting better!

Posted by Pauline.

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