Friday, 12 May 2017

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.

Four baby coots swimming with an adult coot.

They’re definitely getting white feathers on their neck and breast and losing the scraggly yellow head feathers.

Four baby coots swimming

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.

Two adult coots and four baby coots

Which, of course, meant even better baby photos.

A baby coot looking up

I think the black feathers might be the start of their adult coats coming in.

Baby coot swimming

And you can see that their feet still don’t have the white bits on them.

Baby coot standing

And they look awkward as hell.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

As they enter the awkward teenager stage, they get white feathers on their neck and breast.

Two baby coots in the canal

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.

Three baby coots and one adult coot

Today they were along the canal learning about the delicious algae that grows on the sides of the bank.

Two baby coots watch while the adult coot eats algae

At least, I think it’s algae?  It could be a type of grass or moss.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Still five babies, still growing up big and strong and swimming along the canal.

Adult coot with five babies swimming by the corrugated iron canal bank

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.

One adult coot with four of the baby coots

As a bonus: Goslings

Mama goose with a small pile of goslings behind her

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

The babies are learning how to eat algae and other bits from the side of the canal.

One baby coot eating algae from the side of the canal

Which is great for me, because then I get better shots of them.

One baby coot swimming

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.

Two baby coots

I also got a good action shot of one of the adults diving down.

The adult coot diving down while the baby coot watches

“Where’d they go?”

Baby coot looking at the ripples in the water where the adult coot was

Also on my walk in, right by the Castle Lock, I saw a heron.

The heron at the Castle Lock

And a cat eating grass along the canal bank.

A cat eating grass

Monday, 8 May 2017

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.

Two adult coots and two baby coots

There are still five babies, but they were spread out a bit, so I don’t have a picture of all five together.

One adult coot and one baby coot

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.

Two baby coots

Friday, 5 May 2017

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.

One of the adult coots preening while the babies hang out around the nest

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 babies swimming around the canal

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.

The adult coot picking up twigs

But the two bigger babies are happily swimming around and causing trouble.

Two baby coots swimming by the canal concrete banks.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

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.

Adult coot by a brick canal bank

The babies were swimming around, but one kept hanging around the nest.  I figure maybe to stop that duck from taking the nest over.

Two babies swimming and one on the nest

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.

A female mallard duck sitting on a brick patio

You sit there, duck. You do that.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

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.

One adult coot and one baby coot

The babies are very good at being in formation, it must be said.

Adult coots and all seven baby coots swimming in the canal

Meanwhile, back at the nest, there’s a female mallard duck that is trying to turn it into her nest.

Female mallard duck sitting on the coots' 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.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Still all seven!

Seven baby coots swimming with two adult coots

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.

The coot family swimming in the canal

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.

Seven baby coots swimming with two adults

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.