This mummy coot who lives by the small duck pond in the park is keeping a protective eye on her three babies who are doing well.
According to the RSPB site, you can identify the coots as they are all black and larger than their cousins the moorhens and have a distinctive white beak and ‘shield’ above the beak which earns it the title of ‘bald’. The feet have distinctive lobed flats of skin on the toes which act instead of webs when swimming and coots can be quite aggressive towards others. (You can also remember there’s an R in moorhen and adult moorhens have red beaks!)
According to Susan Harris, one of the park’s keen bird enthusiasts who captured this lovely photo, the coots born on the main pond have a much lower chance of survival as they have often been picked off by the gulls. That being said, there were six babies on the main pond yesterday so fingers crossed for this year! Susan has appealed to people to take care when feeding the ducks and avoid throwing food directly at the babies as this makes them more of a target for predators.