Sunday, February 1, 2015

Martin Mere part 2

My last post concentrated on the beautiful Whooper Swans at Martin Mere, but they were not the only birds that I photographed on my last visit.
There was a small flock of Pintail near the hide; the exquisitely-plumaged males were displaying to the females. They swam and jostled in the water like miniature dodgems until they were in the best position in front of a female, then they would flick their heads back, and if they were in a really good position this would be followed by a quick tail flick. I have seen similar behaviour in Eurasian Teals but this was the first time I had seen Pintails indulge in this activity.
There were plenty of Pinkfooted Geese on the reserve as well, and they occasionally took to the air in massive flocks, no doubt in response to the presence of a raptor such as a Peregrine. Last Autumn there were record numbers of Pinkfooted Geese seen at Martin Mere; it is used as a stopover by birds on their way to Norfolk and I believe over 45,000 birds were counted! In mid-January numbers are again starting to increase as birds return from Norfolk and ready themselves for the coming of Spring and the long flight back to their breeding grounds in Iceland.
And in a brief spell of sunshine a small scattering of Shelduck swam past the hide.
The bird-feeders on the reserve also produced a year-tick for me in the form of Reed Bunting. The males will soon be in breeding plumage; actually achieved by feather wear and not by moult.
I also saw my first Great Spotted Woodpecker of the year but it was too elusive for a decent photograph.

Male Pintail

Female Pintail


Reed Bunting

Pinkfooted Geese

Autumn Pinkfoot


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