Saturday, 25 December 2010

Christmas Day at the Mill

With the prolonged cold weather many ducks are dispersing to the river so are getting a few different species showing up on the Kempston Mill Stretch with Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Pochard and Goosander all present in the last few days, along with the usual Mallards and Mandarins. Little Grebe are also pretty easy to spot along the river although their number were reduced by one today when a Grey Heron took one just downstream from the Mill bridge.

Grey Heron eating Little Grebe

Not much Christmas cheer for that Little Grebe, but a nice Christmas lunch for the Heron. In fact it seemed to be a day for the hunters. Another Little Grebe had eyes bigger than it's stomach a little further downstream but the "eyes bigger than stomach" prize goes to a Cormorant which had caught a Chub that was as big as itself. After several attempts to get a better grip on the fish the prize was eventually lost, and I think the Chub survived!

Cormorant battling with Chub

Earlier in the week I spotted a Black-headed Gull which had died on the ice on the river at Biddenham Loop. This morning a pair of wings was all that remained.

Later in the afternoon I spotted a Sparrowhawk in the Garden plucking a Starling. After it flew off I nipped out to find a pile of feathers and a beak.

Nature is truly "red in tooth and claw" this Christmas.