Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Bottoms Up

Although they are not in the dabbling Duck group it isn't unusual to see Shelducks up-ending. They have various methods of collecting their food, which is mainly molluscs, crustaceans and insects.
They are more often seen on mud flats, using the built in filter system in their bills to sift out tiny molluscs called Hydrobia. These small snails have concentrations of 9,000 to 42,000 per square metre depending on the abundance of algal mats.

Whereas the last back end was easy to recognise this blog is a bit more difficult. This is the typical view of a Little Grebe diving for food. Th mostly eat small fish and insects. Sometimes they dive with a more vigorous jump, and that's what I was hoping to photograph, but even getting this one in mid dive was difficult. Fortunately digital cameras mean that you don't waste loads of expensive film trying.

This is probably the same individual I took a few weeks ago but it is a lot more colourful now. Even in the difficult evening light the bright chestnut head shows up well.

I also had the urge to photograph a Tufted Duck in mid dive. There were a pair in front of the hide at the Restharrow Scrape, and I took a lot of pictures. The one above was just what I wanted. It shows that the bird really does jump out of the water when it dives.

Tufties are omnivorous and can often be seen feeding by diving although sometimes they will up end or dabble.

No comments: