Monday, July 17, 2017

Ducklings and Moorchicks

Bristol Harbourside is great for many reasons, but one of the best things about it is watching all the water birds. In one spot there's a little floating artificial marshland to encourage wildlife, which always seems to have a duck or a swan or a moorhen hiding away somewhere in it, as well as some pretty flowering water plants. I was peering over the walkway one day in early summer to see if I could spot anything, when suddenly I saw a whole brood of ducklings.

That was exciting enough, but then I noticed something black and fluffy moving around in the foliage-it was a moorhen chick!

After watching for a while it became clear that there were two moorhen chicks. It was a little bit difficult to see them most of the time, because they blended into the shadows so well!

 They made the cutest little cheeping noises, and I was absolutely captivated by them until they disappeared back into the undergrowth with their mother.

The ducklings were much easier to keep an eye on, especially as they were very noisy! They didn't seem at all bothered by the human audience.

But seagulls, which prey on chicks, were wheeling overhead, and a male duck was getting territorial and pushing a few of the ducklings about, so suddenly their mother appeared.

She rounded them all up and herded them through the floating marshland...

and out into the open waters of the harbour. They swam surprisingly fast, so quickly disappeared from view, off in search of waters new.

I haven't seen the ducklings since, but there suddenly seem to be a lot of young ducks around the harbour, so I think they have probably grown up and started getting their adult plumage since I took these photos. 

I was a little bit worried about how the moorchicks had fared against the seagulls, as they were smaller than the ducklings, but a few weeks ago I was in the same area and I saw two little 
black shapes among the reeds.

The tiny flash of a red bill confirmed that these were the moorchicks. I'm so glad they made it. They have grown so much! 

It's a magical experience getting to see all these birds, especially in such an urban area, and I feel so lucky to have caught such amazing sights this year. I'm really looking forward to visiting this place more frequently next year, now that I know it's a nesting area.


  1. Aw, ducklings, moorhen chicks and swaphen chicks are so cute!

  2. Awww so darling, the little babies! Such lovely captures, it sounds such a magical experience discovering them :D xx

    elizabeth ♡ ”Ice Cream” whispers Clara
    (lets follow each other on bloglovin or instagram)

  3. Awww, those tiny moorhen chicks are too cute! You got some adorable shots here Polly, I love these. Ducklings are always lovely to spot while out and about too, always so cute and friendly I find too. I'm glad the mum managed to herd them off out into the water and hopefully away from the seagulls! I know it's a fact of nature and they're food for them but I hate seeing the ducklings get taken because they're just so sweet. Lovely photos! - Tasha