Coots. Unsuprisingly.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

So the Coots are at it again. The first year that I watched them I didn’t see the whole season, and didn’t really get the whole picture. The second year (last summer) it was interesting, as I could count the number of nests, see them building, watch the tides and the high water levels. Basically being more observant and casually scientific about it. This year is different. They instinctively have to nest – they cannot have a year off – they know nothing else. I, however, have to watch this drama play out again over the course of the summer, knowing their fate while watching their futile attempts to breed like some malevolent voyeur who cannot help – it is all a little depressing.

I do my very best not to anthropomorphise natural history. I find some of the more popular wildlife programmes infantile, and cannot watch them. Meerkat Manor? Balls. Nature is nasty, and putting human emotions in the heads of animals or birds is at best naive, at worst it is stupidity. However, when the nest with the most potential last year failed (their fourth and best attempt), and the Coots left the site for a short while, I found it difficult not to think that they looked despondent and saddened by the whole thing. I know that I was pretty pissed off for them anyway.

This year will be a mix of all of the above I think. As much as they have to construct nests and lay eggs, I feel compelled to visit and document the whole sorry affair (for your delectation dear reader). And someone else is after them too. There is a good chance that these Coots are going to become famous. I shit you not dear reader. A film company that are putting a big documentary about wildlife in London have been in contact, mostly about the coots, and they intend to include them in a feature on Coots nesting with or in manmade materials. Which is a bit mad. Not nearly as mad as a shopping trolley and a ski being left in a river for over three years, but I’ll save that argument for another day.

A Coot doing ready for it's close up Mr Demille


Dave said...

Fame and fortune...the Coots will have to move up from the trolley to a scooter...

Michael Mac said...

I was looking at this nest today and saw no young only the pair of adults - there was another coot nest much futher down the river - so I take it the young have been predated?

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