Sunday, 18 November 2012
What's that duck?
I spent a happy hour or so sitting in a hide playing 'What's that duck?' at the Rodley Nature Reserve. I was quite a competent birdwatcher in my youth.... until motherhood arrived and the incompatibility of bird-watching and life with a lively toddler became apparent. It's a simple pleasure and one that I am seeking to pick up again. Hampered as I am by deafness, hearing and then spotting the myriad tree-hopping 'little brown jobs' (as we used to call the warblers and finches) is tricky. Wildfowl and waders are much easier, as they tend to stay in more or less the same place for long enough to work out what they are!
My list at Rodley included the ubiquitous mallard ducks, black-headed gulls, coots and moorhens (all of which I can spot around the canal in Saltaire) and some rather more interesting things too: little grebe, wigeon, gadwall, a solitary teal, Canada geese and a string of young mute swans gliding around. Some species are resident, some over-wintering and others just passing through, so what you see depends to some extent on luck. Of course that's what makes birding interesting.
The birds were too far away for close-up photos without a very long lens, but I had my binoculars.