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Thursday, 11 October 2012

EEeee Gads!

I have spent any spare minute keeping an eye on three Gadwall down at Newton Marsh – a species you don't see hereabouts that often. They are nervous and easily disturbed and keep their distance. The every present procession of waste wagons to Clifton Tip and worst of all when they pull up for a fag break, kick their tyres and undertake other bodily functions keeps the birds well away from the roadside pools. As a SSSI and all that it makes you wonder what these designations really mean (as in the case of the Biological Heritage Site (BHS) that was Cottam Brickworks, itself a misnomer as it is Ingol, [Ingol Brickworks} one of the rare site of Orchids now to be a bright shiny new Tesco, just what we all need at that location – and designed by the firm I used to work for... hmmmnnn. I feel a howl coming on).

I started off with two Gadwall a male and a female one evening when the light wasn't very good and having spent the dark hours howling at the moon I returned early the next morning as the sun rose. Spooky indeed, but I managed a few photographs. I have been back every day since (until recently) and I'm not sure I obtained any better images than that first morning... but it will generate more than one post. Sorry.

There are (were) a pair of Gadwall a male and a female, then a third, another male appeared. The male of the pair appears to be dominant as the pair sometimes 'chase off' the second male. I'm guessing this a juvenile (help from someone who knows the species better please) but he has the most striking plumage, more readily seen than that of the male in the pair.

All the images are of just three birds, dominant male, female and another 'flash' male. As always you can see the light makes a big difference and so many images of the same birds to show the variation in plumage.

I hope they stay a lot longer as they are great to study, but I fear human interference will see them on their way before too long, if not already – they can be difficult to find sometimes, indeed not seen at all.

And to all of you who have been good enough to leave comments, I am not sure how or where to thank you, so I am doing it here (I don't think people return to 'comment' when they have left a comment) THANK YOU, one and all – it is much appreciated even if I haven't responded individually to you.

a pair

same pair


same female, t'other side

dominant male

like a game of brag this... same pair

dominant male, t'other side
the female of the pair

the other male I have taken to calling 'Gordon'

wing markings

as in Flash Gordon!


Christian said...

Hi Geoff

I'm delighted you've ended up with the 400mm - it's a serious piece of kit! Like you say, it's all about learning how to use it now.

Great advice about Aberkan (or whatever you call it), I'll have a look there for the camo.

Cheers mate.

geoff gradwell said...

testing the comments page

Martin Jump said...

I can't keep up Geoff,you must be in overdrive.That second male gadwall is certainly a handsome chappie.