Musings and photos of wild and everyday life

Posts tagged “Canal

Springing Up

Ducklings Grand Canal

Ducklings on Grand Canal

What a great change to the weather and suddenly, it seems, Spring is everywhere.

.The great hope of light and warmth and growth, after the dark and cold of winter, is inspiring.

Of course, as usual, everything is a bit later here in the foothills of the mountains!

Snowdrops

Snowdrops in garden

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Snowdrops have bloomed,

Snowdrop

Snowdrop in garden

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Crocus hybrids

Crocus hybrids in garden

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Crocuses are waning.

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Daffodil in garden

Daffodil in garden

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And now Daffodills brighten our roads and gardens and confirm the Spring promise.

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12 of 13 Mallard Ducklings on Grand canal

12 of 13 Mallard Ducklings on Grand canal

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It seems early  but we have already seen ducklings in the canal.  13 tiny balls of puffed up fluff darting around under the watchful eye of Mammy Mallard and 2 Drakes.

13!  That sounds like a lot of painful egg producing effort.

I don’t know if one of the Drakes was a friend, lover, brother or a security guard?  If a guard, he doesn’t seem to have been much good, as a couple of days later, no ducklings could be found!

We can hope they moved elsewhere but they seemed too tiny to go far and the birds on the Grand Canal do suffer great predation.

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Lamb in field Co Kildare

Lamb in field Co Kildare

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This is also lambing time around here and little white quadrapeds have been appearing in the nearby fields for about a month now.

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On the other hand we start to say goodbye to the Geese & Swans.

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Greylag Geese in rear field Blessington

Greylag Geese in rear field Blessington

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The Whoopers have already dissappeared but the Greylags are still feeding in the grass fields – probably stocking up for their long flights. .

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Anyway here’s looking forward to plenty more springing up in the coming weeks.

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If you go down to the canal today…Wood Duck

.. you’re sure of a big surprise.  Well, a pretty one anyway.

Walkers on the Grand Canal Dublin may have noticed a particularly bright duck sitting quietly or chasing other ducks agressively.   It is incredibly coloured and doesn’t seem suited to our weather – which of course it isn’t.  It is a male Wood Duck. an American species similar to the Mandarin Duck often seen in zoos and other forms of captivity.  This one may have escaped from some collection.  A few years ago a pair, male and female, appeared in the Botanic gardens but the male dissappeared quite quickly, later followed by the male.

‘Our’ male has taken a shine to one of the female Mallards that are common on the canal and seems to accompany her everywhere.  His very calm demeanour belies his extreme aggression to any other ducks that get near to his ‘mot’.   He probably won’t last long here.  His undoing could come from his apparent tolerance for human presence, from some of the other ducks getting fed up with his aggression or from the many predators – animal or sub-human – that make this part of the canal a very risky place.   Or he might just go!  While he’s here he is worth seeing.

Male Wood Duck on Grand Canal, Dublin

Male Wood Duck on Grand Canal, Dublin


Nests Finches, Trinity, Canal – Review of 2010 – April

April

Refpoll FemaleSiskin Female

It was still cold in Ireland but the promise of better weather was there, albeit slightly misleading as usual.  In our garden the nut feeders were being over worked by finches and tits.  Sparrows also seeem to have mastered this aerial dexterity – I don’t remember them being good at this when I was young but that was a long time ago.   Garden feeders seem to have been important  in providing energy for birds in winter, especially in towns.   As well as some beautiful but infrequent Siskins, we got Redpolls for the first time.

Loo-king ready for the ball. TCD

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In Dublin preparations were made for the annual Trinity Ball.

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It was right into the nesting season – Ducks, Swans, Sparrows, etc. were all working hard on the next generation.

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Sparrowhawk F collecting twigs

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I found this female Sparrowhawk collecting twigs in a wood.
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At home various nest boxes were occuppied – 1 Starling pair and 2 Blue Tit pairs.  Robins were happy to use an uncovered vent hole.

Robin flying with grub to nest in house vent

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Back in Dublin some sunny days brought out people and flowers.

Cherry Blossom TCD .

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Cherry Blossom brightened up parks and gardens while a barge festival brought interest to the Grand Canal.

Barge Festival Grand Canal Dublin