Transition period

As we wave goodbye to summer and the cooler days of autumn draw in, many birds appear to disappear and the skies fall silent. The reason for the sudden absence is that many of our birds are now keeping a low profile, hiding away whilst they go through their annual moult and grow new feathers…

Wildfowl Wednesday

Wednesday 8th April: Isolation Day 17 We are now mid way through our third week of social distancing and fortunately I am still finding ways to keep occupied and stay in touch with nature in between working from home. The government guidance means no more photo trips away from home so I am spending all…

Odd one out?

Whilst most days the avian residents of the harbour are predictable and familiar, just occasionally I can be rewarded with an unusual or completely new sighting of a species you haven’t seen in the area before. Today not a new species, but rather a very recognisable mallard, one of many that have made their home…

World Kindness Day

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” ― Mahatma Gandhi As today is World Kindness Day what better way to spend the morning than to spread a little kindness myself by feeding the local bird population. I have a particular affection for the…

Drakes in disguise

Autumn for many birds is the moulting season, and none of the birds here in Aberystwyth go through this process quite as dramatically as the mallard ducks on the Rheidol river. As the warm days of summer fade into memory so too do the bright, vibrant feathers of the drakes as they lose their summer…

Late arrivals

Summer is almost at an end and the breeding season is now over for much of our wildlife. The mallards here in Aberystwyth however appear to be having a late boom, with several new broods including this adorable bunch I encountered a few days ago. After the disappointment of the mute swans’ breeding failure this…

Patience pays off

After weeks of relentless rainfall the sun has finally returned to Aberystwyth, just in time for the beginning of summer! Taking up my usual uncomfortable (and slightly damp) seat on the slipway beside the harbour edge this morning I soaked up some much needed sunshine whilst waiting to see what birdlife might appear. An hour…

The darker side of ducks

For all creatures no matter how great or small, their primary aim in life is to survive long enough to reproduce and pass on their genes to the next generation. This instinct can result in some startling behaviour as demonstrated with the local mallard population here in Aberystwyth. Mallards are very common birds and often…

The chase

The mallard ducks’ elaborate courtship displays may now be coming to an end, but the drama is far from over! As the females prepare to lay their eggs in the coming weeks, the males are fiercely protective of their partners, keen to ensure that he alone mates with her and fathers her offspring. This pair…

Spring fever

As spring fever grips the country, here in Aberystwyth the mallard population have kicked off their breeding season with a bout of enthusiastic courtship displays. The purpose of such behaviour is for the males to demonstrate their health and desirability as a mate, and for the females to choose the best fathers for their offspring….

Water wings I

Today was yet another superb day on the Welsh coast, with bright azure skies creating beautiful reflections down on the harbour water at home in Aberystwyth. Whilst I had been hoping to capture more images of the mallard courtship displays it seems the ducks were not in a flirtatious mood and most of the females…

Capturing the moment

For our familiar mallard ducks the breeding season starts early, long before the welcome warmth of spring arrives to take the chill off the land. As early as October they begin to pair up, the males displaying enthusiastically despite the driving rain and freezing winds. Today on a relatively warm and sunny day in February…