Not so observant!

Despite regular visits in recent weeks to a couple of the deeper pools along the Loddon I’ve completely overlooked a couple of very obvious Dusky Moorhen nests. I’d noticed the recent appearance of a family (featured a few days back), with  four tiny young that apparently belong to the nest in the photograph below.

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Dusky Moorhen nest , Loddon River @ Newstead, 2nd January 2015.

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Adult Dusky Moorhen.

Further upstream, another pair have nested a little earlier in the season, and also produced four young. The family, together in the middle of the pool, became separated on my arrival – one adult taking two ‘chickens’ into the rushes on the east side of the river, while the rest of the family tucked themselves out of sight from my observation point. I sat and waited for about twenty minutes, by which time the inhabitants of the east bank made a cautious re-entry into the water allowing some reasonable shots.

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One adult emerged from its hiding place …

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… to be followed not long after by a well grown chicken

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and then another.

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The legs and bill of the Dusky Moorhen are very handsome.

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The adults flick their tails to reveal the white headlights as a signal of danger.

The nests are typically made from short sections of aquatic vegetation woven into a thatch, often anchored like these two examples, against a log or amongst branches. I’d obviously completely overlooked the nests and their incubating adults on past visits!

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Dusky Moorhen nest anchored amongst the water milfoil.

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