Thursday, 16 September 2010

2 hours by the Thames

I went for a walk by the Thames between 10 & 12 this morning. I estimated this would be optimal for the tide, it was going down and started to reveal the foreshore which tends to be when the birds are at their most active. It wasn't however the ducks and waders feast I had been hoping for. None of the Starlings, Crows or Gulls materialised into something more important, but nevermind ;) I discovered that the part of Thames Path which had been closed earlier this year was finally reopened, and in time too! Brilliant, no more walking through the back streets and losing sight of the birds on the foreshore!
I saw:
  • Black-headed Gulls: about 150. Including the Finnish CC1H ringed one in almost the exact same spot (about 2m away)
  • Herring Gull: 4, including a pair in courtship display - I really thought they were starting to create a nest on the shore at some point. Weird at this time of year I would have thought...
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull: 1 family with 2 begging juveniles, and at least 2 more adults and 2 juveniles
  • Common Gull: 1
  • Mallard: 46
  • Tufted Duck: 10, including the female and 2 youngsters I have seen every time of late
  • Mute Swan: 1
  • Grey Heron: 1
  • Cormorant: 21, most of them on the wharf, but a few fishing (when not disturbed by passing boats)
  • Grey Wagtail: 1
  • Starlings: a flock of about 50 flitting between the shore and the bridge
  • Canada Goose: 4, including the usual Greylag hybrid
  • Ring-necked Parakeet: 6 on Hammersmith Bridge. I don't recall seeing them on the bridge before, it almost look like they were trying to dislodge some of the pigeons...
  • and the Egyptian Goose family :)
Initially, I only had one of the youngsters by the bridge, on its lonesome, going up and down, calling for the rest of the family.  Then, much later on, I had the rest of the family.

The ringed 'normal coloured' adult. I am still trying to get the first 2 digits, but either the angle is wrong, or there's mud on the ring... I'll get there one day, I hope.

The rest of the family, with the pale adult and the other 3 youngsters. 2 of them have pretty much reached adult size and feathering, but the 'little one' at the back is still playing catch-up.

A view from above.

You can see here how far behind it is compared to its sibling, still all fluffed up on its beck and back...
 There you can see pretty well the lump on its lower beak which has been visible since it is was a small gosling.  I am no expert, but my theory is that it's a thyroid problem.  If you have another idea, I'd welcome your thoughts.

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