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.
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.
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!