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June 2nd, 2012

Dandy

Moorhens producing young.

Last year was the first time I had observed moorhens nesting on the local pond.I watched fascinated as they arrived and built a nest on some rocks that rose above the centre of the pond.They had a hard time of it. After hatching four chicks the nest was wrecked and they disappeared only for them to reappear two days later with their chicks the day after that. Towards the end of the season with one bird still sitting on the nest the water level in the pond rose dramatically and the nest floated away but despite everything at the seasons end they had raised six chicks to maturity and over the winter these six dispersed.

At the start of this season two adult moorhens were back. The water level was at a record height after the April rains and their island had totaly disappeared. They built a nest just above high water on the dam wallside...and then the water level fell. After sitting on the dam side nest for about a fortnight they transferred to a new nest built on their island. Not sure if they transferred eggs across or just started again.

On Friday the nest was occupied. It appeared from the way the sitting bird had wings spread and was reaching down into th enst that "something was happening." Then when I walked past the nest later the same day the nest was abandoned. This morning it had not been reoccupied.
Then I saw an adult with one chick...and shortly afterwards the other adult with two chicks. They were paying assiduous attention to their young as they had done last year. The one with just one to look after kept on flapping up the dam wall to the grassland beside the pond and copming back with some tit bit to feed to the young one...at the other end of the pond, the parent with two to care for was finding food on the pond and on the shore....really good to see.They are known for having more than one brood and starting the second brood whilst the first are still around the nest. Perhaps we shall see another brood this summer....if the water level does not shoot up again and float the nest away.