Saturday 4 – Shelduck Puzzle

Although Saturday felt one of the first true summer days we have had there are also signs of autumn creeping into view. The lapwing are starting to flock up, or at least the ones that have finished nesting are. A few have reared young and a newly fledged chick at the Deeps was a good sight, one of between six and eight to have fledged this year. I don’t expect to see any more now and those that have failed will give up now and start to moult. The redshank start to nest later than the lapwing and there seem to be at least four pairs with young at various points around the marsh. The last of our nesting waders is the oystercatcher, although strictly no pairs nested on the reserve itself this year, one pair is nesting on saltmarsh just over the wall and they are still sitting on eggs. I say sitting, although on Saturday afternoon the female was not keeping the eggs warm but standing over them to shade them from the sun.



A range of duck species can be seen on the reserve all through the summer these days and almost all may breed in some years. The most regular breeder is mallard, no surprise there, next is shelduck and after that in rough order tufted duck, gadwall, shoveler and teal. All have been present this summer but only mallard seem to have nested successfully, so I was very surprised to find a nearly fledged shelduck on the Lake. Stranger still it was very close to the sluice with two mallard, not at all typical behaviour.



On Monday morning a possible explanation came to light, it seems it probably came from an animal rescue centre having been hand reared, which explains the unusually approachable nature of this normally rather shy duck.



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