Monday 13 February 2012: Itchy!
Despite it being half-term, I still had an early start, taking Chris to the station to catch the train back to Sheffield. Pete then went off to a meeting at Wicken Fen, so for a few hours the house was very quiet.
I decided to take the dogs to Ferry Meadows, even though the weather wasn't very appealing - cold and grey with a northerly breeze. Oddly, although the temperature was about 5C, the lack of sun and wind chill made it seem colder than Saturday, which was a good 15C lower!
Most of the snow had melted, but many of the paths still had compacted ice, making it a little treacherous. The lakes were still largely ice covered, and I stopped at the pontoon bridge to watch the antics of the birds. There were many loafing gulls, predominantly black-headed but with a scatter of common and herring gulls. And of course moorhens, mallards and tufted duck.
The tufted duck were restricted to the small areas of open water, which brought them closer to shore than usual. I got several photos of them preening, but particularly liked this one having a good chin scratch, as it shows the underside of the beak and the tail particularly well. I've provided links to other close candidates at the end.
Back home, there was just time to edit my photographs and bake some peanut and orange cookies, before Alex, Ben and I went off to Emma's for the afternoon. It was nice to have time to chat, and catch up over a cup of tea or two! Then back home to cook our dinner...and collapse!
Juvenile herring gulls
Cleaning that tummy!