This sequence shows a pair of Ringed Teal preening in late autumn sunshine. The series of images shows the movements of both birds and the marked variations in the colouring of the male over a few minutes. At one stage the vivid green sheen of the wings gave way to dark blue. I was also trying to use the water behind them to create an impressionistic effect, which has worked in a way.
Halloween. Frequently a wet, cold and dreary day concluding with dubiously decked-out children ‘scarily’ collecting sweets with watchful parents in the shadows (and the odd teenage chancers ditto, but without the parents ). But this year on a warm sunny October 31st I went to have a look at some birds. To start with here are some black-headed gulls (winter plumage) enjoying a serious bathing and preening session at WWT Barnes.
A couple of days ago I wanted to photograph some birds – Black-bellied Whistling Ducks for my main blog – at WWT Barnes at a moment when I had no camera with me. So I had to use my phone. There were some coots feeding their chicks in an amusing routine involving a great deal of work by the parents. I was amused by the little chick that didn’t join the frenzy, but quietly grazed on the vegetation at the edge of the pond.
This is going to be a bit awkward for me. And for you. We are all going to have to be very adult about this. If you are sensitive about discussing… intimacies, then look away now. Because we are going to have to confront the facts with courage and fortitude. Ducks have sex. Oh, you didn’t quite catch that? They have Sex. SEX. SEX. Let’s call it something less.. well, I think mating is the correct word, although given the fact that the female suffers total submersion during the proceedings, ‘ducking’ would not be wholly out of place…
Muscovy ducks turn out to be very interesting in this area. A quick piece of research about them unearthed this unbeatable wiki-nugget of anatidaean life: “Male Muscovy Ducks have spiralled penises which can become erect to 20 cm in one third of a second. Females have cloacas that spiral in the opposite direction to try to limit forced copulation by males”.