This young Mallard duck was having a good feed from beneath the water of the lake on Friday. I loved the way the water flicked off his feathers but also the remarkably beautiful details, speckles and dapples of his changing plumage.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.