New arrivals

With autumn just around the corner and the mallard drakes of Aberystwyth harbour already moulting into their eclipse plumage signalling the end of the breeding season, it looked as though I had missed the opportunity to meet any ducklings this year. It was therefore a very pleasant surprise last week to stumble across a brand…

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…

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…

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….

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…

Eclipse plumage

In the blink of an eye, our summer appears to be over, the hot dry weather making way for the cooler temperatures and moody autumn skies. With the departure of summer the breeding season is now over for most birds, this years young already raised to independence, and attention once again falls to the adults…

Stuck in the mud

Photography isn’t always glamorous, in fact if you are a nature enthusiast as I am you will often find yourself sat out in very comfortable situations whether it be freezing cold temperatures, traipsing through mud or knee deep in nettles. Today was one such day as I explored the tidal mud flat down in the…