MOORHEN MYSTERY DAY TWO

BIRD JOURNAL

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Three adult female moorhens looking after one nest.

Day 2 and there are still multiple females sitting on the nest.  At times it was hard to figure out which tail belonged to which bird.

When I arrived there were three adults sitting on the nest with two chicks and three eggs.

The other three adults were close by, foraging for food and nesting material. They kept returning to the nest and were very vigilant in watching out for threats.

 

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Two adult moorhens watch one of the chicks leave the nest.

 

Before long the two little uns were leaving the nest for the day. One of these hatched out on the Wednesday, one on the Thursday, which made them two days old and one day old respectively. This is what I would expect. Although the two females staying on the nest wasn’t actually what I would expect. I have never actually seen juveniles sitting on the nest with an adult brooding eggs.

 

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The adult female sitting here is the Mother – on a really hot day she is trying to cool down by keeping her mouth open.

The remaining adults spent their time looking after the two chicks.

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One female adult provides a temporary place for young chicks to brood.

One adult, as usual, provided a place for them to brood if they wanted to. They will sometimes create a sort of temporary nest with some look nesting material during the day.

The others brought food to the chicks and occasionally to the female on the nest.

What I couldn’t make out was if it was the male or a young female brooding a chick on the bank. It is notoriously difficult to determine male from female in moorhens. The female’s beak is longer and thinner than the male’s but sometimes there seems little difference depending on the angle you view it from.

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This moorhen has a chick under there. If you look closely you will see it’s little black feet resting on the adult’s feet.

 

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This adult moorhen has a little chick under there. Check out the little feet sitting on the big feet.

There were no juvenile moorhens in evidence at this nest which suggests this is the first brood from this pair this year. Either that or the first brood died.

Normally in that instance I would expect to see male and female taking turns in sitting on the nest and looking after the chicks out on the bank. Here though they had additional help from young adults.

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Adult moorhens grooming and bonding

 

 

It is always nice to see bonding rituals among birds and moorhens groom each other in ways that look particularly endearing.

 

 

 

 

Let me leave you with some of my favourite shots of Day 2 and see you tomorrow.

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Close up of adult moorhen

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Female moorhen

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Moorhen chick showing his climbing skills

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moorhen chick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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