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Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Shelduck Ordeal

I was amazed this morning on an excellent walk organised for members of the Bristol Ornithological Club [BOC] to the Gordano Valley. What caused my amazement was the sight of nine Shelduck in a field on Weston Moor, 2 or 3 kilometres from the sea coast which is their usual habitat. Well not so much the sight, as they can fly anywhere, but the tale we were told: They like nesting in the willow thickets near to one of the many rhynes (drainage ditches) in this area of relative safety for them. However once the ducklings are old enough and long before they can fly, they have to be led by their mothers from their nest sites, over several fields, over two roads and over a hill to reach the coast and they walk the whole way. Have a look at the map! There is a public footpath [the red dashed line] marked on the map from Weston Moor, it goes Northwestward across the B3124 road towards Walton Bay in the Severn Estuary, but most ducks of my acquaintance anyway, can't read maps or road signs!

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