Aquatic Bird images
Great Crested Grebe……PODICEPS cristatus.
These birds are not shy and can be seen on unvegetated waters, lakes and reservoirs. They grow to 45 – 50 cm and nest on large mounds of reed stems. They have difficulty with walking as their legs are set far back.
The Crested Grebe feeds mainly on fish, but also small crustaceans, insects and small frogs. The Great Crested Grebe has an elaborate mating display in spring. They usually only lay two eggs, and the striped young can often be seen carried on the adult’s back. The young Grebe chicks can swim and dive soon after hatching.
Eurasian Curlew……NUMENIUS arquata.
The Eurasian Curlew is a striking bird with its very long curved bill. It grows to 48 – 57 cm. In flight they look stunning. They nest in open bogs, arable fields that are near to waterways or rivers, also tidal creek inlets where they can feed. They will nest almost anywhere that is close to the waters edge, as that gives them protection, as they are very wary during the breeding season. They feeds by probing soft mud for small invertebrates, but will also pick small crabs and earthworms off the surface if the opportunity arises. The nest is a bare scrape of ground in a meadow, or similar habitat. Curlews will lay 3 – 6 eggs in April or May, the incubation period is about a month until they begin to hatch.
As their name implies, they turn stones to find their food source. They can be seen flying in flocks just a few feet above the water, a beautiful sight as the tide is on the turn. They grow to 20 – 24 cm and have a white breast and orange/brown wings, perfect camouflage while feeding along the shoreline. They breed on stoney or rocky coastline. Their food is highly varied. These birds are migratory.
Little Egret…..EGRETTA garzetta
The little Egret is a small white Heron and in the past few years has recently colonised Southern England. It grows to 55-65 cm and have yellow feet, its breeding in small colonies and its habitation is marshland, ponds, rivers with reed beds. They feed on small to medium sized fish, frogs, insects and snails. They lay 3 -5 eggs are incubated by both adults for 21–25 days to hatching.
Canada Goose……BRANTA canadensis.
Canada Geese are migratory and over-winter in Britain and Europe. They can be found in flocks on any flooded field or shoreline. Canada Geese are primarily herbivores,although they sometimes eat small insects and fish, and also feed on grass when over-wintering. They are starting to be regarded as a pest with high numbers of migratory visitors, and the mess they leave behind after feeding.
Grey Heron…..ARDEA cinerea
Herons tend to breed in colonies but do at time breed on their own, they nest high up in the crown of a tree, the trees selected are usually near or beside a food source, inland lakes or river sides. They feed mainly on small fish but will eat small mammals like voles, and amphibians. as they search for their food they will wait motionless, stalking their prey. It’s not unusual for some birds to lay their first eggs in early February. The Females will lay 2 to 5 blue-green eggs, over a couple of days, this is dependent on there environment, they can lay up to 10 eggs. Usually the chicks will hatch in 25 – 26 days.
Cormorants grow to 75 – 96 cm long with a wingspan of 120 – 150 cm. They feed on small fish and eels and are coastal feeders. They stay reasonably close to the shore as they need to be able to dry their feathers as their feathers are not fully waterproof. They are often seen perched with their wings outstretched to dry. This drying helps them to retain their body temperature. As they are divers, their feathers need to be able to let the air escape, making them less buoyant and aid their search for food. Cormorants have a prehistoric look: their feathers are black/blue with a greenish look to them. They nest and breed along cliff ledges or in the trees that line lakes and inland waterways. Cormorants have four toes just like pesserines but they are webbed, this webbed toe arrangement gives them the ability to perch, but also makes them great underwater swimmers.
Little Tern…..STERNULA albifrons
Grows to 20 – 25 cm long and has a wingspan of 40 – 45 cm. The Little Tern is a summer visitor to the UK and they breed in colonies along shallow coast- and shore-lines with shingle, shell and tufts of grass, they lay 2 – 3 eggs on a bare shingle/sandy bed. They feed on small fish and can be seen flying up and down the tidal shorelines searching for food. They hover – often quite prolonged, 3 – 5 metres above the water, then dive quickly and quite often repeat dive just after they take off again. They have a black patch on their head with a yellow bill and feet. They form a distinctive “V” shape with their wings prior to plunging down. They migrate to Africa from August/September to over-winter.