Mallards might be common, but …

Mallards

28th January 2012: The kingfisher spotted me first again this morning; all I saw was an iridescent blue streak skimming along the surface of Hoo Book. One day I will snap him!

A pair of courting mallards swam down the brook past me. If Mr and Mrs Mallard weren’t so interested in each other, they would have flown off as soon as they set eyes on me. I think the male was trying to impress the female, because he stood his ground, looked me straight in the eyes, and began dipping his head in a threatening manner. Instead of flying away, the couple just continued to swim, nonchalantly, down to the River Stour. Now and again, they stopped and looked at me as if to say: ‘I’m not afraid of you, Mr!’

Mallard

The swamp pasture is tinged with green, which means the marsh growing season has started – at last!

The squirrels are hungry; they are stripping bark from tree branches. This is not good. I know the squirrels must do what they can to survive, but stripping bark from trees annoys me. This is all due to them not hibernating and forgetting where they buried their nut hoards. The squirrels put great effort into burying their nut hoards last year – they have had plenty of time to fill their larders. I think the problem was that they spent too much time chilling in the sun and left their nut gathering until the last minute. Still, I suppose this is nature’s way. The de-barked branches will die, and will need lopping off later this year. More branches will start to grow when the sap starts to rise.

I read in our local paper today that planning permission is being sought to change the use of the Wilden Lane scrap yard to a stop-over place for travelling showmen, and a triangle of ground to the south of the scrap yard – directly next to the marsh south entrance – to a Gypsy caravan site.

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6 Comments on “Mallards might be common, but …

  1. Nature has a way of taking care of its own. The squirrels stripping the bark from branches may kill the branches, and even the tree over time, but it may not be all bad. The dead branches become the home of insects, which in turn become food for birds. Eventually the branches fall off, and before they are recycled into food for the trees, they provide food and shelter for other insects and small rodents, not to mention various fungi that in turn becomes food for other species. In nature, there is no waste, and death breeds life.

  2. Indeed, you are correct. We have many large piles of tree branches spread over the marsh, and these provide homes for many creatures, whilst they are rotting. 🙂

  3. Lovely images of the Mallards. I assume the green-headed one is the male. It is a bit like our green-headed male Chestnut Teal duck here in Melbourne. I remember being quite excited the first time I photographed one, but now I have many photos of this lovely green-headed duck. The brown female is almost ‘plain and dowdy’ in comparison.

    • Thanks, Vicki. Yes, the green headed mallard is male.

      The green and brown headed duck is a male teal. 🙂

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