Before I visited the local shops I went down beside the lake to see the progress of the Australian Coot chicks which I have been following since my first post on 6th October 2014.
I have blogged about them here, here, here and here.
It has been a month since I visited the lake and of course the chicks have grown hugely in that time.
There were signs of greater independence from the chicks and greater reluctance to feed by the adults. In a new move I found an adult and two chicks grazing on the grass alongside the path.
As long as I stood very still they were very happy to pass close by me and for me to get a very good look at these remarkable birds.
Constantly on the move meant anticipating when to click the shutter but here they are and look at those feet!
This close up photograph of the adult bird’s feet show fascinating webbing.
No wonder they can zip through the water at speed when they want to. The feet of the young are very similar showing that nature prepares new generations very well for survival. Factor in such vigilant and devoted parents and these chicks have had a great start to life.
I’m looking forward to seeing the striking white beak and white marking above the beak emerge fully on the juveniles.
While out and about yesterday afternoon I popped in to have a look for the Australian Coots and other waterfowl families at the Whitby Lake.
My walk took me down to the more sheltered part of the lake where I spotted an adult Pukeko and two young grazing up on the grassy slope while another adult was preening in clear water.
Pukeko or Swamphen. Porphyrio melanotus
The Pukeko was naturally very cautious so I needed to use the zoom on the camera at almost full stretch and so lost sharpness but I love the glorious colours on these birds.
And look at those pristine white undergarments!
Peeping noises alerted me to this young one who was not far from the adult in the water.
I became aware of peeping noises behind me and turned to find this younger bird scuttling on those very long, gangly legs, as fast as it could to rejoin the family group.
Legging it across the stream on enormous wader’s feet and off to safety.