Friday, 19 February 2016

Coot


Just check out those awesome feet! These strange aquatic chickens are called coots and they are incredibly prevalent in London parks. In fact I could guarantee a 100 percent success rate at finding them on any day and at anytime of the year, you just need to know where to look.
Obviously as a waterfowl they enjoy being in and around lots of water.
Best places to spot them would be Victoria Park, Regent's Canal (where I photographed the pair in the photo above), St James' Park (which really is an absolute treat for watching birdlife, including pelicans!), and really anywhere with a good supply of water. Everywhere apart from the Thames that is, where I have rarely seen them, probably due to it being a bit too rough and fast flowing for them. They can however also be sighted around the docklands area.
They are extremely quirky, fascinating little birds and I love watching them. They're often seen in pairs and can be heard calling to one another with an array of noises. The most unique being a weird kind of whistle-click sound made by both calling and snapping the beak shut at the same time.
My favourite spot to watch them would have to be the West Boating Lake at Victoria Park; preferably whilst sitting on the decking by the Pavilion café with a mug of their delicious Sri Lankan Chai! Here you can spot them diving down to the bottom to return with beakfuls of green slimy stuff to happily snack away on. In the warmer months you may see them with babies which have bright crimson heads and look like tiny fuzzy vultures!
Keep your eyes pealed for this interesting resident to London's green spaces and let me know when and where you've seen them!
Here's more info on coots from the RSPB.

 Bliss!