21.12.2011 Spreading wings

Becoming up-ending divers

A week later and there has been no further loss to the twelve ducklings.

When I arrived they were busy diving. When the chicks are small they get their full body

under water when they dive for food, and Mum makes waves to stir up the ground in order

to flush food near the surface. Now they do not get under the surface for feeding,

the tail ends stay above the water.

The only ducks in New Zealand that are able to dive really deep are the endemic scaups (Aythya novaeseelandiae).

In German: Maori-Ente, Maori-Tauchente oder Neuseeland-Tauchente. Das sind kleine, fast schwarze

Enten, bei denen Männchen und Weibchen nur durch die Augenfarbe (orange bzw. braun) unterscheiden.

The females are starting to develop a white rim at the base of the bill, and also have a white patch under the eyes.

Smallie is proud of seeing his/her nicely patterned wings grow. But the little duckling still has its baby fluff.

The colours of the wings are already striking.

Checking out the grass. The ducks also love clover.

There are six female and six male ducklings.

Smallie is growing - but always half the size of the others.

Clearly a female.

A male with a few fluffy down feathers left.

When the ducklings waddle out of the water most of them start spreading their impressive wings before they

preen their feathers and sit down for a snooze.