Right past the Castle Lock, there’s an overspill.
The coots were swimming around there today. One of the babies is very adventurous and wasn’t anywhere near their parents, but the other four swam alongside one of the adults.
They’re definitely getting white feathers on their neck and breast and losing the scraggly yellow head feathers.
What was particularly great about them being at the overspill was that it meant they were in a place where you could get really close to them without getting down too far.
Which, of course, meant even better baby photos.
I think the black feathers might be the start of their adult coats coming in.
And you can see that their feet still don’t have the white bits on them.
And they look awkward as hell.
As they enter the awkward teenager stage, they get white feathers on their neck and breast.
This is, of course, adorable, because they still have the remains of those raggedy yellow head feathers, and it just makes them look even more awkward compared to their sleek parents.
Today they were along the canal learning about the delicious algae that grows on the sides of the bank.
At least, I think it’s algae? It could be a type of grass or moss.
Still five babies, still growing up big and strong and swimming along the canal.
That was roughly where I saw the cat eating grass yesterday, so I hope that A) the babies don’t decide to go onto land and B) the cat doesn’t decide to take a swim.
As a bonus: Goslings
The babies are learning how to eat algae and other bits from the side of the canal.
Which is great for me, because then I get better shots of them.
I only saw four, but I could swear I saw a fifth baby hiding under one of the adults. But there were definitely four swimming around.
I also got a good action shot of one of the adults diving down.
“Where’d they go?”
Also on my walk in, right by the Castle Lock, I saw a heron.
And a cat eating grass along the canal bank.
They were down by the lock again, on the side of the canal with the path, so I was able to get really good pictures.
There are still five babies, but they were spread out a bit, so I don’t have a picture of all five together.
The babies would swim away from the edge as I approached, and the parents would swim closer. But, after a few seconds, the babies would swim back when it was obvious I wouldn’t snatch them.
There are just five babies now. Since two of them are visibly larger, I’m guessing the two that are gone were probably late hatchings and were easy to pick up by predators.
They were all hanging around the nest today, which made it easier to get closer photos, and I managed to actually get my phone to focus right today.
One of the adults was picking up twigs and other debris to add to the nest – I guess the squatting ducks pushed everything out of place.
But the two bigger babies are happily swimming around and causing trouble.
Although they were close to the edge of the canal, my phone didn’t focus properly, so I ended up with a lot of photos of blurred balls of fluff.
But the adults photograph well.
The babies were swimming around, but one kept hanging around the nest. I figure maybe to stop that duck from taking the nest over.
So instead the duck hung out on the bank. She’s very friendly and quite happy to hang out with us. And if you’re standing, she’ll go sit in the shade you’re creating.
You sit there, duck. You do that.
They were down by the Castle Lock today, and close to the other side of the bank, so I was able to get some nicer photos.
The babies are very good at being in formation, it must be said.
Meanwhile, back at the nest, there’s a female mallard duck that is trying to turn it into her nest.
The coots do keep coming back and reclaiming their property, though. I suppose with all the work they put into that nest, a duck squatting is just too much to handle.
Still all seven!
They’re now veering towards that awkward teenage stage rather than the cute fluffy baby stage. The yellow feathers on the head are starting to look straggly and their wings aren’t those adorable little nubs.
They also have a lot more independence, as proven by how they’re swimming around. They’re following their parents, yeah, but they’re also looking around and keeping their distance.
I’m so glad they’re all still around, and I hope I get to see them in their really ugly gawky teenage state, where their adult feathers are coming in, but they still don’t have the white bit on their heads.