Sunday, 8 November 2009

The humble Moorhen

Cromford Mill was Richard Arkwright's factory, built in 1771. It was the first successful cotton spinning mill and it survives today as a charitable trust. Our visit to Cromford Mill was for a coffee stop at their excellent cafe and a chance to purchase flour for bread making as they have a selection of specialist flours from local flour mills. We venture out along the canal after coffee.
On the canal are a wide variety of water birds, including the Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus). This medium sized rale (Ralliform) is often overlooked by bird watchers as a background bird. It can be seen grazing on water weed and grass on most lakes and rivers in England and Wales. It is less common though in Scotland.
The birds have a very distinctive red patch above and onto the beak which has a bright yellow tip. There is a row of white bars on the feathers of the wing. It is a very distinctive grown dwelling bird.
But did you know that this bird will roost in trees as a protection against predators and disturbance. It is a very poor flier as birds go, but it can be seen scampering up the trunks of trees using its wings as a boost to aid climbing.

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