The recent wet weather has not prevented the moorhen chicks from leaving the nest to explore their new surroundings. The mother took advantage of the man-made nest to lay her eggs. She usually has batch of 5-8 eggs and incubation takes around 3 weeks. The young fledge after 40 days and stay close to mum as I witnessed when my camera zoomed too close to the young birds. In fact when under prolonged threat the parents will often fly to safety with their young holding onto them.
Both the moorhen and the coot, seen below, have set up camp on the this stretch of the pond near to the spring, as it is sheltered from the vagaries of fluctuating water levels by the bridge that funnels water slowly through to the main area of the pond.
You will notice the lone egg in the coot’s nest. Is this one the mother has forgotten to hatch? It might be left deliberately as the egg may not be hers, as around 15 per cent of all eggs are laid by other female coots intruding the nest. The incumbent coot is very clever though and can count eggs and reject any ones that do not match the distinct coloring of their own brood. I will have to monitor developments closely and bring you any new updates.
The recent downpour of water on monday has caused the levels of the Wandle to rise quickly, as seen on this measuring stick close to the Richmond Green bridge just downstream of Waddon ponds. I have been unable to determine the unit of measurement being used, it is not feet as the depth of the water is too shallow as shown by receding water levels in my later picture. It is not inches or centimetres and I found one reference to fathoms to measure water levels. Sounds reminiscent of the tv series “Voyage to the bottom of the sea”, hardly relevant to this stretch of the Wandle! Nevertheless the depth was sufficient for some birds to take shelter on the bank or among weeds on raised ground.
By Tuesday,yesterday, water levels had returned to normal.