Unusual events on the canal!

by | 22 May 2021 | Retford, Wildlife, Worksop

Walkers on the Chesterfield Canal have seen some unusual bird behaviour recently. The first was a mallard drake reluctant to leave the towpath despite people walking towards it. On closer inspection he was found to be sitting beside a dead female mallard, presumably his mate. When he did eventually leave the towpath, the drake continued swimming back and forth close to the deceased. A local bird watcher says that birds whose partner dies, in some cases stay with the corpse for quite a while, behaviour that is not uncommon among mallards, pigeons and crows.
Another unusual sighting involved a pair of swans swimming with their cygnets followed by a ‘cygnet sitter’ which, unusually, was a Canada goose! Apparently this particular trio of birds has had their convenient arrangement in place for several years. The adult swans lead their flotilla of cygnets along the canal and the Canada goose brings up the rear, ensuring that no little one gets left behind. The bird watcher says this is a much more unusual case than the mallard and suggests the goose has become imprinted on swans perhaps because its mother laid it, as a stray egg in a swan’s nest or possibly it was reared in captivity with a group of cygnets and goslings so recognises them all as potential partners.
Keep your eyes open when you’re taking a walk. You never know when something really unusual might come swimming past! Thanks to Paul Willcock and Phil Palmer for this information.
If you want any more information about the North Nottinghamshire Local Group of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, call Jan on 01777 709974 or 07969 180067 or email janwilliamson133@gmail.com. If you would like to receive email updates of Local Group activities, please email Jan with your request.