For all those planning to get to more familiar with coots and their family habits, forget my Amazonian activities upstream. There is no need to swing through branches, plunge into water and spend hours quietly crouched on tree roots. Just head for the East End of London, especially Limehouse Dock and the Regents Canal. Coots aplenty are waiting to greet you and show off their young, bringing them not only into view, but to your feet!
Of course I was not expecting this wildlife extravaganza, so did not take my camera on the Regents Canal walk. I was accompanying Stewart, who planned to take classic architectural and ‘light on water’ shots …..
….. so he was very generous in the amount of camera time he devoted to every coot nest, family and young that we spotted. Here are a few of his shots …. I love what they choose to ‘feather’ their nests with down here … empty crisp packets, plastic bags, sodden paper, and bits of floating foam rubber! The young red headed chicks seem to love their colourful eclectic home.
And how much have I tried to get photos of these little red heads up around Shepperton?? And here they were, in paddling parade just a few meters away.
One thing the older young have in common with their upstream cousins in the noise they make, demanding food from both parents at all times. Mum and Dad swim constantly looking for tasty morsels, sometimes disappearing beneath the surface for the best bits ….
….. leaving the chick waiting baffled, but still noisy, above.