Friday, 17 January 2014

Scratching about!

The two Glossy Ibis that were reported at Restharrow Scrape yesterday afternoon were still around this morning. Typically as I arrived they walked out of sight, behind a large clump of reeds.
The one remaining island on the scrape, the other now being submerged, appeared to have shrunk a little more over the last two days, as the rain has continued and the water table continues to rise,

Two new arrivals since I was here a couple of days ago were two handsome drake Pochards. I watched this one scratching the back of its head with a large webbed food, and quickly banished the thought of trying to scratch my head with my foot. A good trick if you can do it!

The Ibis had by now been out of view for a while, they had briefly appeared, only to wander behind some large clumps of grass and other vegetation. The one thing that this proved is that despite their large wings, making them look huge in flight, on the ground they aren't as large as you might imagine and are quite capable of disappearing in the rough surrounds of the scrape. Then quite unexpectedly one put in a short flight, hopped over the bushes and settled near the edge. It was still a long way off, over the far side of the water, but at least   it was now in view.
Having watched a Pochard scratching its head with its clawed foot, the Ibis now demonstrated how to deal with straightening out your feathers with a bill really designed for probing in the water.

It did go through a few contortions to deal with its axillary area, almost turning its head upside down.

Once sorted out it did have a little flap and I thought that it was going to take off, and leave its hidden partner behind.
In fact ti just had a couple of flaps and at about this time the second bird did come into view. It never really come out in the open properly, while I was watching, but it kept popping up and down among the vegetation to the left of the bird in the open.

During a lull in the rain I took one last distant picture of this blob and made my way back to me car. A semi satisfactory outcome, but compared to the very close views I've had in Spain these were a bit disappointing.

Here's one from five years ago, more here

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