Baby boom at Heslington Lake

With the Grebes already growing fast and getting into trouble, it’s worth looking at other chicks to be found around the lake.

Barnacle Gosling

Barnacle Gosling

Most of the geese now have goslings, and this makes them slightly more dangerous than normal. I’m usually dismissive of people who are afraid of geese, but when they have young they get aggressively protective.

The Barnacle Geese are a little more dainty and just keep an eye on you.

_DSC5203 (1280x852)

The Canada and Greylag Geese on the other hand become a liability. It’s not uncommon to hear two sounds in close succession. The first is an “awwwwwww” as some unsuspecting student spies a lovely fluffy chick:

Deceptively fluffy

Deceptively fluffy

Of course this is closely followed by a second sound, usually a high pitched scream, as the same student learns why you never approach a chick with an alert parent nearby…

Always watching

Always watching

I have to be fair here, I was treated to a full-on attack myself the other day. Out for a run I went past three adult Greylag, one of which must have been unusually highly strung. As a result, it took against the dark sweaty shape moving rapidly (well, not that rapidly) towards it. So it launched itself at my head! Fortunately I read the signs and was tensed and ready to swerve it.

Fortunately on my walks round the lake they are usually more placid.

Relaxed geese

Relaxed geese

The coots on the other hand are never placid, regardless of season or breeding status. We showed this a week back when one went for a young grebe. They are even worse now they are feeding their own young.

Perfectly framed

Perfectly framed

Coot chick. Not a pretty sight.

Coot chick. Not a pretty sight.

It’s not just in the vicinity of their nest that they set off. Out in the middle of the lake, away from any obvious threat, this adult was still spurred into a whirr of action.

Get off my lawn!

Get off my lawn!

The object of this explosion of fighting spirit? A poor little moorhen that was scratting around near the concert hall.

Like someone who has just seen Jaws, this bird is afraid to get back in the water

Like someone who has just seen Jaws, this bird is afraid to get back in the water

Although an alternative explanation could be that the coot was just drunk:

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Can of Strongbow may be Coot’s Own

Not everything has young on the move yet. The Black Swan that appears from time to time is still single.

Black Swan

Black Swan

There was also a crow prowling about lo0oking for remnants of student lunches.

Upstart Crow

Upstart Crow

Finally, as the weather warms the carp inevitably appear at the surface of the water. They are big enough to take a small, new duckling. So this post ends on that warning!

Carp

Carp

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I welcome thoughts, comments and questions, so please feel free to share anything at all. Thanks, David

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