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.

In go the trout

Yesterday on our way into the village we saw more than the usual number of white vans and cars parked by the bridge.

Taken through the car window - did we mention that it was raining?

It would appear that the issues that we described here between the members of our local fishing clubs, the Gaule du Grand Pressigny of late memory and the AAPMMA "La Truite de l'Aigronne" are resolved and the AAPMMA has taken over. Fishing permits are on sale and the stocks of farmed brown trout and (non-native) rainbow trout were being released as usual.

Large red boxes were shuttling from the back of the pick-up to the river bank. Grey boxes waited to be emptied. The colours identify the species. Further along the river, a smaller red box was in transit, carried gingerly across a field. Meanwhile...

Monitoring the dispersal of the fish
As for the person with the bucket heading purposefully for the river bank, we will charitably assume you also were monitoring the dispersion of the released fish, and not helping yourself to a bucketful of gawping tourists....