Reader Callum Herd has sent me this week’s picture.
Callum said: “While walking along the Esk, I’ve seen and photographed a pair of ‘ducks’ that I hope I have identified correctly as Goosanders.
“The two (presumably male and female) were so different colour wise, and also the way they were acting. The male (presumably the black and white one) was constantly diving under the water, whilst the female (brown-crested head) swam along with her beak lying on the surface of the water (see photo). The female would do this for some time – what do you think she was doing? They were quite timid, and I had to photograph from behind some trees. Your thoughts would be appreciated.”
Usually when you see Goosanders with their heads low and extended forward, they are actually snorkelling, with their eyes just below the water surface as they search for fish. However, in this case, the female’s eye is obviously above water.
Callum has been lucky enough to witness and photograph Goosander courting behaviour.
During pair bonding, the duck will adopt this very low posture, while the drake shows off with a well-rehearsed display of bows and stretches, all designed to show his prime condition and suitability as a father.
This is a sight which would have been extremely rare locally during my early and mid years of wildlife study.
Happily, Goosanders are doing very well since they became legally protected in Scotland .
So keep your eyes open for the ducking and diving Goosander!
More Country Corner in this week’s Advertiser