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Chilli-head
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Chilli-head

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Unusual sighting

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default Unusual sighting

Post by Mike on 19th June 2010, 1:43 pm

Yesterday Penny called me to se a immature heron atop a disusued chimney of our house but gone when I arrived and she's not really up on bird ID. So all I really know was "large waterfowl". But this morning when I went out to get the newspaper there it was again, croaking form the chimney top. A male red breasted merganser (possibly immature).

We're about 100 miles too far south for them to be breeding here but my breeding maps aren't 100% up to date, these things do change over time, and common mergansers shown to have an isolated patch of breeding area here in the Berkshires so why couldn't the red breasted have begun doing that (these species have prettty much the same range).

So a fish eating waterfowl, but duck, not heron.

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Mike

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Post by Guest on 19th June 2010, 2:29 pm

Is it like a large mallard with a punk hair style?
We have sea gulls here yesterday, a few hundred kilometres in land, which made us guess the weather was going to be "odd"

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Post by Mike on 19th June 2010, 11:27 pm

It's a large duck, somewhat more than a mallard, spot on about the hairdo, the bill is long, narrow, pointy, and the tip hooked down. These ducks dive under to catch fish and if they want to get quickly to a relatively close place on the water they "get up on step" (hydroplane) rather than taking to the air. Makes sense for them as being heavy so as to be able to stay under, taking off from the water is usually like a sea plane taking off, get going fast enough to plane and then airborne.

But unlike loons they can take off from the ground (a grounded loon is helpless -- they are trapped if ever come down on a body of water too small for them to get up to takeoff speed)

However probably why perched on our chimney as from there getting airborn again easy.

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Post by Mike on 21st June 2010, 12:39 am

Three days in a row so I guess we can assume that our chimney has been chosen as a "croaking" perch (the "song" of the mergansers is very like that of a large frog).

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Post by Dandelion on 21st June 2010, 5:11 pm

Have you managed to get any photos?

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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