Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Seasonal Splash: Spring is in the Air (we hope ...)

We have just returned from Salisbury. We didn't have any rain, but there was still a lot of snow banked up on the field edges. It was bitterly cold, but bright at times. The Mallard drake above was heading on downstream in the beautiful clear waters of the River Loddon

I am trying to recall the name of this waterside plant (above) ...

Do drop a line in the comments if you know! It grows in large clumps along the banks of a river or in marshland. 
 It is always a joy at Easter to see a clump of Primroses. This clump was gracing the walls of Old Basing.
What a luxurious des-res above for the Basing ladybirds and mini-beasts! I have yet to see my first Ladybird of 2013, but hope that I will not have to wait too much longer.

Just as we were leaving the site, a familiar shape flew over our heads. I grabbed my camera, and the resulting record shot will show you our first 2013 sighting of a Red Kite. By the time we returned home, we had seen at least one other.

The clump of Coltsfoot above was in Wilton, on the river Wylie. if you know Wilton and Wilton House, you might enjoy Arcadia by Adam Nicolson, which pays tribute to the landscape and its literary figures like Sir Philip Sydney.  
On our journey home, we stopped at Audley End, where I saw what I took to be a hybrid Mallard (above) among the ducks and geese. Dave Appleton tells me that he feels 'it’s simply a domestic variant of Mallard, not a hybrid between a Mallard and any other species. Domestic Mallards come in a bewildering variety of sizes, shapes and plumages.' So many thanks to Dave, whose 'hybrid duck' photos can be viewed here.

It was lovely to see some Tufted Ducks. These are classed Amber in the Conservation Status ranks. The dark duck on the left is a female.
It seems the staining on the swan's head above may be due iron or tannin in the water. Thanks to Martin Aldous for this information, which you can find here. I had assumed it was probably a kind of breeding or adolescent plumage.
 This was a lovely Easter Bank Holiday scene ... though the photo fails to say how chilly it felt!
Not everyone wanted tranquillity, however: this Coot had to hop away from the glare of the Canada Goose! 

Safe landing ...
 ... then time for a snooze.
Audley End


eileeninmd said...

Lovely series of birds and photos. The Tufted Duck is one of my favorites. Congrats on the Red Kite sighting. Happy Birding and have a great week!

Em Parkinson said...

Sorry Caroline - no idea what it is. Looks familiar...lovely bird photos as usual.

Andrea said...

So beautiful collections of photos Caroline, but i love most the water colors around the drake in the first photo. And the frame of the last photo is very well executed too! How are you?

Mary said...

Lovely shots of everything! The des-res is interesting. Haven't seen that before.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Isyour mystery plant butterbur? I'm saying that off the top of my head and I'm more familiar with the leaves than the flowers, but still that might be it...

I'm always confused between hybrid mallards and domesticated varieties,