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Old Thursday 27th June 2019, 18:23   #1
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I was out this morning in the sunshine watching the birds at the tideline from an elevated field on the banks of the River Mersey. The usual suspects were there - oystercatcher, herring, common and black-headed gulls etc. - all engaged in their eternal search for nourishment.

Into the scene, appearing from beyond the trees curtaining my view to the right, came a Mum shelduck and a Dad shelduck, shepherding a group of thirteen (I counted 'em) baby shelducks. The stragglers at the rear of the group, lingering too long over a choice morsel, realizing they were in danger of being left behind, were constantly hurrying to catch up to the main group, while the vanguard at the front, suddenly becoming aware that they'd gone too fast, too far, too soon, were panicking and retreating to the security of the centre. And so the troop (collective noun for shelduck, anyone?), continually contracting and expanding, Mum and Dad remaining serene in spite of it all, passed across the picture, disappearing behind the trees screening my view to the left. So much for that, I thought, transferring my attention back to the oystercatcher et al. Fifteen minutes later, however, back they all came, this time progressing from left to right at the water's edge and pausing for a brief swim before vanishing behind the same trees whence they had appeared. I don't know if they'll all be sleeping in the same burrow tonight, but if they are I wouldn't like to be their next-door neighbours.

Anyway, the incident, combined with the fantastic photographs on Bird Forum, has made me determine to buy a decent camera. I would have loved to have a record of the shelduck today.

Last edited by wilberfloss : Thursday 27th June 2019 at 21:51. Reason: term error
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Old Thursday 27th June 2019, 21:32   #2
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Sounds enchanting, WF.

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Old Saturday 29th June 2019, 16:57   #3
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Experienced something similar on Pennington marshes last year, when the parents were taking their ducklings to the sea. You really do have to be in the right place at the right time
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Old Saturday 29th June 2019, 17:40   #4
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Wandering about aimlessly seems to be a Shelduck thing . . .
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