Monday, 9 March 2015

Killy Lake Courtship

Sunday was a relatively gloomy and overcast day, despite the weather I took a free afternoon as an opportunity to give Killingworth Lake a visit.  Ten minutes of driving later and I reached my destination.
The lake was relatively busy with dog walkers, adults and children milling around the lakes edge, I suppose I shouldn't have expected anything else, it was the weekend after all.

As usual the water was alive with the regular cast of waterbirds; Coot, Tufted Duck, Moorhen, Mallard, Canada Geese and Mute Swan, all of which seemed to flock towards the nearest bread dispenser.
The open water contained a large flock of Pochard (20+) and a large flock of Goldeneye (25+), whilst a solitary female Goosander bobbed along in the distance towards the road. The smaller roadside pond contained a few stand out birds in the form of a Shoveler pair, a Lesser Black-Backed Gull and dozen or so Goosander.
I headed back towards the larger lake and positioned myself on one of the small southern jetty's, lying down and positioning my camera out towards the expanse of water. It wasn't long before an absolute corker of a drake Pochard began drifting towards me, preening and napping as it approached. 
A stunning drake Pochard, just look at that deep red demon eye.

I came to the lake with the intent to observe and hopefully photograph some of the finer species Killy Lake had to offer and was more than happy with my close encounter of the Pochard kind however, at the top of my list was the stunning Great Crested Grebe.
I was in luck there was a total of three Grebes, one pair on the larger water body and a single Grebe on the smaller roadside pond near the school.
The pair on the lake were in full courtship mode, performing the enchanting penguin dance, my first time seeing this I'm ashamed to say and it was fascinating to watch these two birds perform this stunning ritual. I'm looking forward to making repeat visits to the lake and watching how the pair progress throughout the breeding season.

Nature North East / The Northern Owl Project