New Arrivals!

This is going to be 'fox-light', just for change of pace. The foxes are still all there, and I even saw (but didn't photograph) one of the adults earlier this evening. There will be plenty more foxes in the coming days (weeks?), and if you are really in need of a fox-fix then you can always scroll through the archive of my fox of the day pages.

Instead today is a feathery post, starting with a young duckling, sadly the only survivor of a clutch of around 10.

The goslings are doing rather better, and all six are still hale and hearty, and growing fast.

One possible cause of the decline in duckling population are these invaders. Terrapins are non-native and effectively sit at the top of the local food-chain. Not only do they take young ducklings, they also predate eggs which is not good. They were almost certainly dumped in the pond by a bored pet-owner, and have been around for at least three years.

There may be other causes of the decline in ducklings. Gulls, raptors, foxes (yes), rats and even stoats inhabit the local area so young ground-dwelling birds are in constant peril. The terrapins are prime culprits though, and I suspect the goslings have survived as they were hatched on the island in the centre of the pond, well away from the warmer fringes preferred by the terrapins.

On a brighter note, the first of the gull chicks at work have arrived. Not much to see yet, but thre are two tiny little gulls snuggled up to Mum in this shot.

No sign of chicks in the two other nests I'm monitoring, but it can't be too long now.

One fox cub shot for tonight. It's the bullying cub and it's displaying typical dominant behaviour with the brush held high and parallel to the ground. This is a fox saying 'I'm the boss!'

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Camera note: all shots taken with the Canon 7D and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L USM IS lens, apart from the fox cub which was photographed with the EF 24-105 F4L IS USM lens.

This entry was posted in Birds, Foxes, water birds and tagged , , , , .


  1. derWandersmann June 5, 2013 at 5:06 am #

    I saw some of our Canada goslings yesterday … they're a good 10" to 12" tall. They probably hatched before yours.
    I don't suppose anyone has thought of removing the terrapins?

  2. serola June 5, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    Originally posted by derWandersmann:

    I don't suppose anyone has thought of removing the terrapins? Quote

    Exactly what I thought. *Someone else' is obviously needed :worried: At the moment I count myself as a person who expect 'someone else' to take care of issues like these. But when getting older, I hopefully become more active :up: In the park close to my home there are many small things one could improve. I myself would prohibit giving food to birds during summer months and autumn, but I do understand people go there just to see the birds, and therefore feeding them has to be tolerated, even if it means there will become also rats to take their share of the food.

  3. derWandersmann June 5, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

    I'd be happy to do it myself, but the trip over to the UK is rather expensive.

  4. anonymous June 5, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

    Alison writes:

    Fox-Fix! That's exactly how I describe my daily visits to Fox of the Day!

    As for Bully, it's too bad Shutterbug isn't around to give him one of his patented 'don't mess with me' looks! (I can't believe I find myself thinking about the possible interactions of foxes several thousand miles away…)

  5. gdare June 6, 2013 at 4:06 am #

    My coleague saw the other day few ducklings crossing very busy street in Vancouver. But even though some people stopped and let them cross to the other side, the moment they climbed on the sidewalk, two crows swooped down on them and took off with a duckling each in their claws :insane: That caused the remaining ducks jump back to a street. Who knows what happened with them at the end :awww:

    Nice to see that others are doing fine, though :up:

  6. derWandersmann June 6, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    Crows are bold and smart. I've seen similar things … and they can talk; they have a surprisingly large language. All suited to talking to other crows, of course, and about things that crows are interested in, but a language, nonetheless. And they can count up to three, but no higher.

  7. Words June 7, 2013 at 12:06 am #

    Darko, ducklings and roads are dangerous mix, but I'm not surprised at the behaviour of the crows. A local farmer told me that birds of prey were no problem, but he lost more lambs to crows than anything else.

  8. Words June 7, 2013 at 12:06 am #

    Sami, point taken! I have been lazy about the terrapins, but barely saw them last year (the weather was so bad). There was a letter about them in the local paper recently, so I know someone is on the case.

  9. Words June 7, 2013 at 12:06 am #

    Alison, I've not seen Shutterbug for a couple of months or so. I'm sure he is still around somewhere, but he may have another family to look after.

  10. Words June 7, 2013 at 12:06 am #

    dW, your goslings do sound like they are a few weeks older than ours, though they grow quickly. I may contact the Council about the terrapins. I believe they are aware of them, but a little bit of pressure may mean they try to remove them.

  11. Words June 7, 2013 at 12:06 am #

    dW, there are some great examples of crows using tools as well. Clever birds.

  12. serola June 7, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    Well, I'm also no better than any other 😀 All too often I rely on that 'someone else' 😆

  13. SittingFox June 11, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

    I have heard that terrapins are rather hard to catch. It's a real shame that people aren't aware (or aren't interested) in the consequences of dumping pets in the countryside. They're fine creatures, but they simply don't belong in this particular ecosystem.

  14. derWandersmann June 12, 2013 at 4:06 am #

    There seem to be rather a surplus of chelonians and / or testudines in our southern swamps, lakes and bayous … hardly worth the trouble to distinguish them, since there are so many varieties. They are predators, yes, but they are, in turn, preyed upon by the local humans, who eat them, minus the crunchy bits. They are usually taken with a .22 rifle, though I've known chaps to use powerful airguns for the purpose … or nets. They sometimes take bait on a fishing line, and are caught that way.

  15. Words June 15, 2013 at 12:06 am #

    dW, netting would be the only option here I think.

  16. Words June 15, 2013 at 12:06 am #

    Adele, the terrapins move quite swiftly in the water. It ought to be possible to net them with the right kit. Warm days bring them out to bask. When they're in the water I doubt you could even see them.

  17. derWandersmann June 15, 2013 at 3:06 am #

    Probably. Even the soft report of an air rifle would probably upset someone. You're so populated over there.
    Over here, I've known chaps to poach Canadas in city parks (anywhere there's any open water) with airguns … they just have to be careful. They're actually doing the cities a favour, though it's illegal … the geese are a real nuisance since enough people have taken to feeding them ("They're so pretty!") that they winter over here, and even become permanent residents. They're a health hazard, if nothing else, and the adults have been known to attack small children. They can administer quite a beating.

  18. Words June 21, 2013 at 11:06 pm #

    dW, I would never mess with geese. Tough birds.