MY PHOTO OF THE MONTH
I have been to Florida to photograph the birds and also a few 'gators', I will put a trip report up soon (ish).
For the first time I have seen this morning baby Dunnocks in the garden and they were being fed by an adult. I had seen an adult Dunnock around since winter so assume it was a female and she decided to stay and nest but I have only ever seen one adult at any one time.
To me this is definitely a Wildlife Wonder in my own garden I bought a Hedgehog House and within days a Hedghog was making a nest inside it and is now living there …
I was passing nearby so I stopped to have a look how the Great Crested Grebe family were doing, however they were nowhere in sight, they may have been further up/down stream or perhaps out practising flying as they should be big enough by now. Here is one of the last photos of all 5 that I have, the youngsters do look very small compared with their size when I last saw them…
I did see both Mute Swan parents and all four cygnets, they also look like they could fly now. I was really pleased to see the Great Crested Grebe pair that lost there first clutch of eggs (probably to a Mink) and then relaid, are bringing up one youngster. I do not know if more hatched but at least they have something to show for their breeding season. I was also quite surprised how big the youngster was, but I suppose its longer than I think since I last visited ?
I think the following video, by 1Akbadass was taken this year (2011) at Silver Salmon Creek and shows the same family, mum and the 2 delinquents as I liked to call them (just for fun) because they were so playful and mischievous, that I photographed last year (see gallery). So its good to know that all 3 survived the winter hibernation
Update on the GCG family, all 3 youngsters and both adults are doing fine but still keeping in the middle which is too far for photography. The youngsters are getting quite big now
The other pair of GCG which I believe lost their first lot of eggs to what I believe was probably a Mink, have another nest with 3 eggs in it (from what I could see). I am glad they are attempting to breed again but the female seemed very nervous when I wandered along the bank even though I didn’t get that near to her, so I will refrain from trying to photograph them as I think wildlife has a hard enough time as it is without me making things worse.
I also saw both Swan parents and all 4 Cygnets, so that also seems to heading for a happy ending.
I went to see ‘my’ GCG family yesterday to see how they were getting on. Both parents and all 3 chicks were in their usual place and too far away to photograph again, but all 3 chicks have grown and look very well looked after. I would be surprised if all three chicks didn’t reach adult hood now When I was there the Swan family came past (have I mentioned them before ?) with all 4 surviving cygnets getting very big A fifth cygnet was lost very early on but I have no knowledge of why or how, but 4 cygnets is still quite good.
I had to go and have another look at the GCG family just to see if all was OK. I found both parents in the normal place and again too far away to photograph, however I could only see 2 chicks. Then the parents with chicks aboard mum, started going downstream towards town ? I followed them for 3-4 hundred yards but they didn’t seem to want to stop and I wondered if this was the last time I would be able to find them, so I wished them well ‘just in case’, I also realised there were all THREE chicks aboard mum so I went on my way to another place I wanted to visit feeling fairly confident as to their future.
I decided I would go back home via the GCG nest site and to my surprise both parents and all three chicks had made it back, but again too far away to photograph. I think it may be at least a week (probably longer) before the chicks are big and brave enough to come close enough to photograph again.
I went to see the GCG family early this morning, however I didn’t take any photographs because there was so much weed that has come downstream (I assume the weed is being cut for maintenance) that the Grebes had only a small area free to use and that was too far away for photographing them. I also only saw what I assume was the female with 2 chicks on her back, I do not know where the male was or the other chick, hopefully there were around together nearby. The chicks have grown quite a lot since I last saw them and I doubt whether mum could now get all three on her back, which is why I think the other one may be with dad somewhere nearby.
I certainly hope I do photograph the GCG family again, but realistically I am unsure if I will ever be able to get near enough to them with all that weed around, so here is the very last photo I have taken of them sofar…
I went to see the GCG family this morning, all of them were off the nest but I could still see only 3 chicks and there did not seem to be an egg still in the nest. I initially thought that the adult may have decided the egg was infertile and took the other chicks off for a ride and perhaps a Gull might have had the egg ? After a while I looked at the nearby Coots nest, no sitting Coot and no chicks, my suspicions were now aroused. I then had a look for the pair of GCG further upstream and their nest. Both adults were off the nest fishing, no chicks and I could not see any eggs in the nest, now I was really suspicious, although Paul has told me since that GCG sometimes cover their eggs up when they leave the nest for a stretch etc.
A little while later, back at the GCG with the 3 chicks, I saw from a distance ‘something’ swim into the reeds near to where the Coots nest was. This ‘something’ was not a Water Vole or Rat, it was much bigger than those two and seemed to have its head above water and its body below. Then the Coot and Moorhens were obviously distressed and took 4-5 minutes to calm down, but I didn’t see ‘anything’ swim away so do not know what it was, but I immediately thought ‘Mink’ which would explain everything, but I am only having a slightly educated guess. Again Paul has told me since that there were Mink seen at this place a couple of years ago, so I think this may be the most likely scenario, however it certainly isn’t proved without further evidence. Perhaps ‘our’ GCG family are lucky that 3 chicks hatched before today ???
There are now 2 Great Crested Gebe chicks, however on very close inspection of my photographs taken today I believe that a third chick is actually in the process of hatching and the forth egg appears to have a crack in it so I think this chick is also about to hatch. This photo isn’t very clear but along with my other photographs that I have closely examined make me believe this is the chick that is in the process of hatching