This page will try and show you what Water Birds you may see in or around our waters.
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You will see lots of other birds at our waters, Swans are resident on some of our waters, they are not always happy to see us especially if they are nesting, but must times they will come over if you have food to offer them, you will most likely see them along the River, On Newbridge pool and sometimes at Top Flash. most swans migrate in the Winter, the Mute swan is the only one that stays here. They nest in spring or early summer, they will create large nest sites and vigorously defend them, theys his and make themselves look bigger when the are aggressive and will also charge towards you to make you back off. Swans are a protected species in the UK and you can even get a prison sentence for taking swan eggs.
You will see coots on a lot of our waters, they are a member of the Rail family of birds, and can be seen swimming in open water, in and out of vegetation looking fo food, Coot's are omnivores and will eat small live prey, other bird eggs, and anglers baits, once a coot finds a baited area they are relentless and will keep diving down to the bottom to get as many as possible, this unfortunately means they get hooked from time to time, please if you do hook one try and get it into the bank to remove the hook, NEVER just cut your line off. they will nest in reed beds flattening areas down and making bulky nests, they can be aggressive to other birds usually attacking with their large feet. they are fairly poor flyers, and have to take a long run across the water to get airborne, splashing along the way, despite being poor at flight some do migrate and usually at night, but most stay put and can be seen all year round.
You may see Moorhens on any of our waters. they spend a lot more time out of the water than its relative, the Coot, and even climbs trees. Moorhens are omnivores, eating everything from snails and insects to small fish and berries. When disturbed, it usually takes cover in nearby vegetation, but if it does take to the air, its flight is short and laboured. The Moorhen offers a great opportunity to watch breeding bird behaviour: in the spring, the male swims towards the female with its bill in the water and the two birds eventually nibble at each other's feathers; both birds then build the nest out of twigs in emergent vegetation and defend it with ferocity.
The Heron is another bird that you may see on any of our waters, and are one of the tallest birds you’ll encounter, standing at over a metre in height. Its size, combined with its smart grey black and white whiskery plumage, makes this bird instantly recognisable. plus their height they can have up to a 6ft whopper of a wingspan, but the average heron weighs little more than a pheasant, with bigger males only reaching a maximum of 2 kilograms.
Herons can be quite vocal, with a variety of calls depending on behaviour.
they nest in big trees, in groups called heronries. These are often habitual sites that are revisited year after year and may involve dozens of nests, spanning multiple trees. Herons start to nest quite early and it’s not unusual to see herons sitting on eggs in early February, but nesting activity peaks in late March.
They are stealthy ambush hunters, you will see them stalking in the margins moving slowly but deliberately so as not to spook it's prey, or will even stand still waiting for prey to pass. When ready to strike, their neck and long sharp bill can be extended in the blink of an eye.
They will eat newts, frogs, small reptiles, small mammals and waterbirds and a whole spectrum of fish species from minnows to huge, powerful adult eels.
Herons regurgitate pellets of fur and bones, just like Owls.
Cormorants generally inhabit coastal areas, But due to dwindling fish stocks they have been increasingly seen around our waters over the years. you will most likely see them on Bottom Flash, along the River Weaver and on some of our still waters from time to time. They are a social bird and spend a lot of time on the water with their long slim body almost submerged and their necks straight with their heads slightly uptilted.
Cormorants are possibly an anglers least favorite water bird as they feed almost entirely on fish. They will typically, individually consume up to half a kilo of fish a day, but in fresh water their diets may be more varied. Cormorants ‘duck dive’ from the water’s surface and in addition to their webbed feet, use their short wings to propel themselves downwards to an average depth of 10 metres and catch fish using the sharp hook at the end of their beak. Their feathers are not waterproof and you will often see them on a perch holding their wings out dry.
Greater Crested Grebe.
You may see these birds on some of our waters, they are not the best of flyers and require a good run up to take off so you probably wont see them on our smaller waters, they have a lovely mating ritual and will dance together in the early spring, they will nest in amongst the reed beds, their chicks love to ride on their parents back. Grebes predominantly feed on Fish but will also take other water species like crayfish. they do not migrate as such but may move to a another area over the winter.
Kingfishers can seen Along the River Weaver, at Tommy's hole and at many of our other waters, you may see them on a perch at the waterside ready to strike, or you may see a coloured streak go whizzing by as they can move pretty quick, they eat mainly small fish like sticklebacks, but they also eat aquatic insects, freshwater shrimps and tadpoles.
They will close their eyes as they dive into the water, so they are fishing blind! But they bob their heads before diving to accurately judge the depth of the fish.
Kingfisher courtship and mating occurs in spring. The male will approach the female with a fish in his beak. He will hold it so that the head of the fish is facing outwards and attempt to feed it to the female. If he is unsuccessful he will simply eat the fish himself. He may have to repeat this feeding behaviour for some time before mating occurs.
the pair will dig out a nest tunnel in vertical, sandy river banks. The nest chamber at the end has a slight depression to prevent eggs rolling out, but no material is brought into the nest.
The first clutch of 6-7 eggs is laid in late March or in early April. Each chick can eat 12-18 fish a day meaning the adults may catch over 120 fish each day for their brood.
2-3 broods are often raised in a breeding season.
The design of a kingfisher’s beak is aerodynamically efficient, allowing it to dive from its perch, towards its prey, with maximum speed and minimum splash.
Tend to be found in large flocks on our waters, you are likely to see them on Top and Bottom Flash, but you may find them on our smaller waters maybe in mating pairs or just a few birds, some of the Canada geese that live in the UK do not tend to migrate far, overwintering on our shores, with some staying in situ for the winter, they are magnanimous once they have found a mate they will usually stay together for life, they will build a nest in spring and usually lay about 5 eggs, they eat mostly vegetation, either from the bankside or directly out of the water, where flocks roost / settle, the banksides soon become laden with Goose excrement, they can also be quite noisy when in flocks, Also beware when they are nesting or have young, they may lunge at you or fly at you if they think you are threat to the nest or their young.
Ducks are another species of water bird that come in lots of shapes and sizes, From the most common the Mallard, to Mandarin ducks,
Ducks are omnivorous birds which means they will eat a mixture of both plants and other animals.
Different species of ducks will eat different types of foodstuffs. For example mergansers, that have serrated, hooked bills, eat a diet primarily made up of fish, whereas dabbling ducks such as mallards or pintails will graze on aquatic plants and vegetation that they dive headfirst below the surface of the water to find. they also eat sand and grit to aid digestion, it grinds the food in the birds gut. Ducks also love to forage, so if you have food on offer they will likely come over to see what you have, they will soon get used to being fed and before you know it they will be there looking for food even if you don't have any. Female ducks build their nests and will lay eggs between March to July, usually laying a couple per day up to about a dozen eggs in total, the male will help in protecting the nest with its eggs, but once the checks hatch the male loses interest and rearing is left to the female.