On a fresh water pond in Pauatahanui Forest and Bird Reserve I found these ducks.
Perhaps Huey, Dewey and Louie?
More likely to be some of this season’s ducklings which have survived, just enjoying the pond.
Disappearing into the reeds.
Heading towards the shore through the pink and green weed that is covering the surface in summer time.
I nipped down to post a package on Wednesday and took a few minutes to see how the Coot family was faring. The wind was bitterly cold and at first there was just a sole parent in their usual spot. Across the other side of the lake I could see another pair of adult Coots and their young one so I went around the path to try and get some photos of that family.
However the Black Swan family were on the look- out for food or for dangers and with rather a lot of out-stretched neck movements from the parents I thought better of going towards them. I felt happier to pause and take photos of them once they were in the lake with their flotilla of 6 cygnets.
By the time I retraced my footsteps I spotted the Coot family I have photographed here and here and here. Look at these well-grown chicks now!
The devoted parents were working very hard to fill these bellies and I suspect it will not be long before the young are being encouraged to dip, head first, tail upwards into the lake to find food.
In a nice warm sheltered spot I found Mr and Mrs Duck and their three tiny ducklings. Mrs Duck close by and father duck on sentry duty.
And not far away in the shelter of a church building the Pukekos had bought their balls of fluff on extraordinarily long legs, out to graze and sun bake on the warm concrete path.
It is 12 days since I visited the local Lake and took some photos of the Australian Coot family and other water fowl.
Today near the edge of the lake was a parent and one chick.
Look at the size of those big paddling feet. It is no wonder that the Coot chicks can scoot along like little speed boats at times.
There was no sign of the other parent or the second chick so I decided to walk around the path further in the hope that I would find them on the more sheltered side of the rushes.
No luck there but I could see the Pukeko family together in bulrushes much closer to the path. I set off in that direction but rounded a corner to see this family heading my way.
Caution was the option I took and after taking two photos of the high-stepping proud parents and their fluffy cygnets I retraced my footsteps and left the swans to their outing.
As I neared the path back to the shopping centre I spotted the two Australian Coot parents and both chicks.
Feeding the young ones was very much the business of the day. The parents repeatedly dived to pluck weed or vegetation to offer to the peeping chicks.
Then one of the chicks swam off in a very independent manner to balance on a bulrush and peck at the foliage or perhaps to rest up with a full belly.
As I was watching the Coot chicks at the lake yesterday this Black Shag flew in and stood on the wooden pontoon that is attached to the concrete of the lakeside path.
The wind was perfect for drying feathers because despite being water birds and looking very oily and waterproof these birds must dry their wings. Shags are swift underwater swimmers, with a sharp hooked beak to help them catch fish, eels and small crustaceans. They are often seen sitting on a perch with their wings spread out, drying their feathers. This is because shags’ feathers are not waterproof. This makes it easier for them to dive and stay under water for an average of 20 to 30 seconds per dive (the observed record for kawau is 58 seconds). But it also means the birds quickly get waterlogged and cold. So after a bout of fishing, shags must spend a lot of time preening and drying to restore their feathers and warm up.
This handsome bird kept a very wary eye on me as I approached. The various turns and moves it made reminded me of a conductor in front of an orchestra or of a person relishing the first taste of summer warmth with outstretched arms.
But I also heard this nonsense poem that my Dad used to enjoy…..
The common cormorant or shag
Lays eggs inside a paper bag
The reason you will see no doubt
It is to keep the lightning out
But what these unobservant birds
Have never noticed is that herds
Of wandering bears may come with buns
And steal the bags to hold the crumbs.
By Christopher Isherwood.