Saturday, 13 July 2013

Baby Eider video

 As most of you know I spent a few days at my ’old caravan’ however on my way there I called in at the Wetland Trust, Castle Espie and today these are a few photographs and video I took there. (more to come when I get them processed!)  This is a view from the restaurant.

Below is a new duck to their collection and they have 2 males and 2 females all 1 year old.  
It is the Comb Duck

Comb Duck, is an unusual, pan-tropical duck, found in tropical wetlands in sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar and south Asia from Pakistan to Laos and extreme southern China.  It also occurs in continental South America south to the Paraguay River region in eastern Paraguay, southeastern Brazil and the extreme northeast of Argentina, and as a vagrant on Trinidad. 

The goose-like comb duck gets its common name from the large, fleshy, dark grey growth or ‘comb’ on the top of the male’s black beak, an unusual and distinctive structure which enlarges during the breeding season.  Male comb ducks are large birds, with glossy blue-black or green-black upper parts, tail and wings, white underparts and pale grey or black flanks.  The top of the head and back of the neck are black, and the rest of the head is white, speckled black, with yellow tinges on the sides and on the neck during the breeding season.  Narrow black bands run along the sides of the upper breast.  The comb duck’s legs and feet are dark grey, and the eyes dark brown. Females are much smaller than males, with less glossy plumage, less well-defined black breast bands, more speckling on the head, which lacks any yellowish tinge, and sometimes with brownish mottling on the underparts.  

Females may appear almost white, and also lack the male’s ‘comb’. Young comb ducks are brownish, with a dark eye-stripe, and attain adult plumage in the second year.   WWT are hoping that these pairs will breed here.

Mallard female with her 2 chicks

Tufted duck with her 1 chick
Eider male in eclipse plumage
 After breeding, ducks (as well as Geese and Swans) moult (replace the old, worn-out feathers with new ones).

Ducks are peculiar in that they moult all their flight feathers - the long, wing feathers - at once. For about a month, they can't fly and very vulnerable to predators.

To provide some protection, particularly for the brightly-coloured males, the moult starts with their bright body feathers. These are replaced by dowdy brown ones, making them look much like females. This eclipse plumage is why in mid-summer, it seems that all the drakes have gone.

Once the flight feathers have regrown, the birds moult again, and by October the full colours are back and the various species of ducks are easily recognisable once more.

I have never been able to photograph Dragonflies and I am afraid I am not going to attempt to name this one however I am hoping that those that do photograph these wonderful Dragonflies and knows all about them will help me out with the correct name. PLEASE.  Thanks to Roy, Frank and Em I have discovered that it is a male Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata).
  Male Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata).

They have a Duckery at Castle Espie and I took the short video of these Eider ducklings.  It was wonderful to be able to stand so close to them and study them. You can access the video at

Thank you for visiting today.

Thank you to ALL who left comments yesterday on any of my posts. 
I appreciate it them ALL.

I am linking to the Bird D'Pot today.


  1. Great post Margaret!! LOVE your pics! and the video is GREAT!!

  2. Another fabulous post Margaret!

  3. Its a female Four-spotted Chaser Margaret.
    Check out this website and keep it in your favourites/bookmarks.

  4. Here is another useful link for you to keep about Butterfly ID.

  5. And a couple more I use all the time.{:))

  6. thanks Margaret for the lovely photos; the comb duck I've never seen before, the dragonfly are fabulous ... and you have a little van you stay in away from home? Also enjoyed the little ducklings video

  7. That looks like a wonderful place to study the ducks Margaret...[;o)

  8. Wonderful photos and I so enjoyed the video. The dragonfly photos are stunning :)

  9. what a lovely looking place and super duck and dragon pics :-)

  10. Love the baby ducks and the dragonflies! Your dragons are different than mine, so I can't help you with the ID. The photos of them look great! They are fun to try to photograph and so many different ones out there. I never paid any attention to dragonflies until I started blogging and saw them on other people's sites.

  11. Love this post, Margaret! The Comb Duck is cool and I love the cute ducklings. The video of the Eider babies is adorable. Wonderful shots of the dragonflies! Have a happy weekend!

  12. Wonderful photos Margaret, enjoyed the video very much. Wishing you a great weekend :)

  13. that comb duck is definitely unique! love the eiders - such cute 'noses'. :)

  14. The sun looks hot.

    But you, that ducks and the dragonfly must have enjoy this very much.

  15. Nice Eiders video, and brilliant the rest of the photos.

  16. Beautiful pictures Margaret.
    Dragonflies are so beautiful, I love it.
    The comb duck I've never seen.
    Regards, Irma

  17. The two mallard chicks are my favourite I think. Would agree about the Four Spotted Chaser ID. Love the comb Ducks too!

  18. Hi Margaret, What a great collection of ducks and other critters... I loved reading about the molting process of ducks --and how nature seems to protect the males during the month when they can't fly... Amazing!!! Thanks for sharing.


  19. Ducks are reason enough to get up in the morning! Such splendid birds!

    Just back from Central Australia - so lots of images to process.

    Stewart M - Melbourne

  20. Wonderful post Margaret! I love the dragonflies.

  21. Interesting read, especially about the Comb Duck - a bird I've never heard of before! I wonder if there's any other duck species found naturally across Asia, Africa and South America? Your photos did it justice and I liked your dragonfly photos too!

  22. Loved this post!!! Wishing we could be lucky enough to have eider breeds this far south in USA...but I will continue to enjoy them with the help of your kindness in sharing them from you area of the world. Cute babies. All the way around. AND I enjoyed the showing of making those silage rolls. How educating.

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