Thursday, 14 July 2011



The wonders of evolution.

14th July. I found a nice group of Mallard feathers as I walked beside the small lake today. Such is my interest in feathers, that I have just in the past few days ordered from Amazon, the new book Feathers/Thor Hanson which is to be my next read. It’s in the post as I type. For sometime now I’ve been meaning to put together a talk on feathers and I’ve just not got around to it. Maybe the book will kick me into action, although I’m not so sure anyone would necessarily want to listen and that is what has led to my lack of motivation if I’m honest. I do know that when I have spoken to youngsters having a few feathers at hand has always grabbed their attention. I find that much better than endless images that are quickly forgotten. A feather can be held and marvelled over, and what marvels of evolution feathers are!

I heard two of the young Great Crested Grebes hungrily calling before I had reached the lake. They continue to make good progress. The third youngster was following the other adult bird in the opposite corner of the lake. There was no sign of the young Little Grebe today. The sports centre roof held numbers of Black Headed, Herring, Great Black Back and Lesser Black Back Gulls. As I watched the Swifts and House Martins flying over the large lake I got my eye on a pair of Little Grebe. Now I’m wondering if these were the parents of the youngster I found a few days ago. The Great Crested Grebe was alone again and I can’t see where the other one could be sitting on a nest. The floating reed bed has almost disappeared! The Common Terns flew over the lake. One flew off in the direction of Gosforth Park with a fish in its bill. I assume that these regular terns are part of the Gosforth Park colony which I don’t think has faired too well over the past couple of years.

I walked back in the sun, passing ‘butterfly alley’ where there are still numbers of Small Skipper. Whites, Small Tortoiseshell and Meadow Browns were also seen today. Bird song was now notable by its absence, although the sound of Chiffchaff was still heard.


  1. I would listen to that feather talk, I particularly like finding bird of prey feathers. Good to see the Great Crested Grebes and chicks.

  2. I better get the talk put together then.;-)

    I remembered you hearing the Little Grebe call way back in April. I'm wondering if they had a nest in the reed-bed and that the youngster I saw last week was the result. Cheers. Brian.

  3. I think that the talk would certainly appeal to some folk and yeah I think children are often intrigued by feathers.