Young gulls

It is nearing the end of summer, and for most birds the breeding season is over for another year.¬†For the Herring Gulls though, their work isn’t over just yet. The gulls begin nesting from late May onward and usually lay a clutch of around 3 eggs. Chicks remain in the nest for up to 40-50…

Ugly ducklings?

It has now been around 6 weeks since the mute swans cygnets left their nest and I am relieved to report, all five youngsters are still alive and thriving under the care of their devoted parents. The cygnets have grown rapidly in this short space of time. Gone are the cute, grey balls of fuzz,…

Jackdaw juvenile

Today was my first encounter with a charming juvenile Jackdaw who had appeared in the flock who regular patrol the harbour edges for food. It appeared to have fledged very recently and was smaller and more delicately built than the adults, the young also have bright blue eyes (which change to brown and then finally…

Five fluffy cygnets

I have now spent a few days watching the mute swan family from a frustrating distance, as they introduced their newly hatched cygnets to the territory but keeping their distance from my side of the river. Happily today they finally entered the harbour ‘gap’ and into range of my camera as the tide rose around…

Fight for survival

Sadly it seems that the failure of last year’s mallard ducklings to survive is set to repeat for a second year. Just a day after the ducklings left the safety of their nest before my very eyes (see here), only one duckling remains at it’s mothers side. The others were most likely predated by the…

Baby boom!

It’s 1st of June, also the first day of meteorological summer and it seems that today is the day for a baby boom! Almost exactly a year to the date from the arrival of last year’s cygnets, this summer the Mute Swan pair have successful hatched five tiny babies. Hopefully this bigger brood will increase…

Mistaken identity

With their sleek all black feathers, long legs and harsh calls, it is easy to get the larger members of the corvid family (carrion crows, rooks and ravens) confused, but this becomes even more challenging when it comes to their youngsters. Take this individual for instance, photographed on South beach a few days ago. At…

Have you ever seen a baby pigeon?

Have you ever seen a baby pigeon? Highly unlikely, in fact very few people have. But why is this? The reason may be found in the pigeons’ breeding habits. Like their rock dove ancestors they nest in cavities, natural cliff ledges replaced by holes and cavities in our urban buildings. Nesting high in inaccessible locations…

Hard times for wildfowl

It appears the breeding season hasn’t yet come to an end for at least one of our local mallard females as she surprised me last week by turning up with four fluffy ducklings in her wake. The youngsters could not have hatched more than a day or so ago as most, if not all still…

‘Teenagers’

Every evening at low tide a chattering, whirring flock of Starlings descend down onto the mud flats into the harbour to forage for tasty insects and invertebrates exposed by the retreating water. A few evenings ago the flock were joined by their newly fledged youngsters and I set out to photograph them. The fledglings are…

Circle of life: Part II

My joy at discovering the Mute Swan cygnets a few days ago has now turned to sadness. Unfortunately when I caught up with the family again a few days ago it appears that two of the three cygnets have died. Like most baby birds cygnets are extremely vulnerable, particularly in the first few days and…

Circle of life

Finally, after months of impatient waiting the mute swan cygnets have arrived! After witnessing the adult mute swans mating in the harbour some months ago I have been eagerly waiting for the opportunity to photograph this year’s babies. There were just three cygnets feeding with the parents, which seems like quite a small brood with…