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.
I had some time yesterday to visit the local lake again to see how the Australian Coot family was doing. We had a taste of summer yesterday with a warm, steady breeze blowing and lots of sunshine.
The Coot chicks have definitely grown and they were out on the more open side of the bull rushes with their ever attentive parents. Despite the choppy water the chicks swim very strongly and are beginning to look a little more like their parents.
The parent birds were keen to keep their young near the protection of the rushes so photographs were a bit trickier but I think you will see the growth that has occurred in 5 days.
The day was clear and sunny and I wandered down to the local man-made lake. I had hoped for some ducklings or cygnets and none were in evidence. However tucked in to the edge of the bullrushes were these fluffy scraps with yellow spikey scarves, red coloured heads and beaks.
Initially I thought they must be Pukeko chicks but the Pukeko’s usually live and nest in a more remote spot of the lake where the rushes are much thicker and matted.
When an adult Australian Coot appeared from the rushes it was very obvious that these chicks belonged to her, or him. A second adult appeared and with it another baby.
The parents busily fed the chicks and chased away any other duck that came too close to their young.
It is remarkable to see chicks with such different colourings to their parents when they are so young. A closer look at the babies’ beaks shows the tip to be white just like their parents.