6 Apr 2015

Battle of the Coots

On Friday 27th March I had a spare couple of hours and being in the area I headed to Dungeness RSPB reserve again. Given it was a fairly nice afternoon but with a brisk cold wind, I was unsure if the session would draw a blank. There was a lot of activity far out on the lake and pretty close in was a pair of Tufted Ducks. The male was obtaining nesting material.




 After they left nothing pretty much happened apart from the odd Coot in the reed below the hide and Great Crested Grebes passing by mid distance. Then after 1 1/2hrs passing, suddenly 4 Coots appeared right in front of me. They were in 2 pairs and faced each other.






Knowing how feisty Coots can be I wondered what was going to happen next? Well true to form, it all kicked off! The next sequence of photos captures what happened between them.









One of the pair of birds decided to set upon the other pair. The above 4 images were the same pair fighting. Then at one point the others joined in to create real drama to the situation. I was amazed how violent it had become. They were really kicking each other and forcing the other bird under water.







To see the birds on their backs like this was a behaviour I had never witnessed before. Two ganged up on one bird for a minute. Then split and proceeded to fight as separate pairs again.






All calm again

 Then for no apparent reason they just stopped and calmed down and proceeded to swim away together! Very bizarre behaviour that I either believe was a territory fight or what is actually them courting each other? So after expecting there to be nothing much happening this provided me with a unique opportunity to witness this sequence of events.

6 comments:

  1. Brilliant pictures, Coots fighting are always a sight to behold and I love how their raised wings make them look like bishops hats.

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  2. Brilliant pictures, Coots fighting are always a sight to behold and I love how their raised wings make them look like bishops hats.

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    1. Thank you for commenting Mark, they certainly have character...lol.

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  3. Fantastc pictures, but I thought you might want to know that the bird in your first picture is actually a tufted duck and not a goldeneye.

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    1. Thank you for letting me know about the misidentification, will rectify this.

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  4. Brilliant series of pictures Graeme! Great account.

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