Friday, 8 April 2011

Looking Their Best for Spring

When I arrived on Thursday the sun was already bright and all the birds seemed to be concentrating on looking good. Opening the Tern hide the pair of little ringed plovers were both preening away. The female in the top picture has much blacker ear coverts than the male, they also often have rather weak breast bands, although this bird is actually quite well marked. Both pictures show the importance of flexibility in the quest to reach those hard to get at places. Obviously keeping the feathers in tip top condition is vital, they are all that stand between a bird and the elements and at each set has to last, body feathers are usually moulted twice a year and wing and tail feathers once. Then, of course, it is important to look good if you are to get a mate.
At the Centre I was putting on my boots when I heard the calls of a lesser spotted woodpecker, looking round I found it in the dead branch of the oak beside the car park, it was the female, as well as calling she was also drumming. I did not expect to be able to get a picture, it takes a while to set up to digi-scope, but I was in luck.
In fact she stayed on the branch for two or three minutes, the reason being that she too was brushing up her act and just like the plover the neck feathers seemed to be the toughest to get at.
The volunteers were in and we were preparing the tern rafts for launch, possibly next week or the week after. On the way down to Ivy Lake the flowering blackthorn was a great sight and very attractive to insects.
Later in the day I was again in the Tern hide and a pair of goosander were somewhat closer than usual, on the small island near the hide, they too had come ashore to smarten up their plumage in the sunshine.

No comments:

Post a Comment