Friday, 1 July 2011

"The Nuke Plant" Nature Area -- July 1st, 2011

Not sure what the proper name for the area is (it's beside our local Darlington Nuclear Station) but we always refer to it as 'the Nuke Plant'. It's a quiet area and most people you meet are walking their dogs or just walking or jogging the loop around the pond. I think some people avoid the area thinking that they may start glowing in the dark after their visit.

These male Mallards are molting and will soon look more like females than males.
After the Mallard drakes abandon their mates to the job of raising the young, they fly to a secluded area and undergo their annual molt. The molting of their wing feathers leaves them temporarily flightless. They are no longer displaying their courtship plumage, but a drab "eclipse" plumage that is similar to that of a female. It provides better camouflage against predators while their wing feathers grow back. The entire process takes 2 to 3 weeks. The hens go through a similar molt once their ducklings have fledged. Source:

The beautiful green sheen on their heads is almost gone.

These turtles don't look very comfortable. Looks like they're keeping an eye on the swan.

I'll keep an eye on him.

Common Moorhen

He doesn't seem to be intimidated by his big cousin.      

There's been a pair of Mute Swans at the pond for several years now. The female (in front) is swimming in "one-leg up" mode.

They're voracious eaters, having their heads submerged most of the time it seems. This one is enjoying some reeds.

Now & then you're reminded that civilization is close by. Three or four trains 'flew' by in the hour or so that we were there.

Swimming in the reeds... a pretty sight.

These are pretty too and plentiful in the area.
From John...
Crown Vetch. It is a useful invasive for binding soil and preventing erosion. Some farmers use it for crop rotation. It also smells good when in super abundance.

- fini -



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