This time of year is just excellent. I can’t tell you how much satisfaction there is collecting eggs from the nests of birds you have nurtured and encouraged to thrive, and seeing all your hard work has paid off. This montage however is courtesy of Rosemary Sharp, a great friend and donator of WWT. Friday last, I was lucky enough to go egging with her in her breeding aviaries, and these glorious nests were the result.
The East Indian Wandering whistling duck above had 12 eggs of which 8 have proven fertile. The sheen to her feathers and her sheer vivacity are readily apparent and this is represented in the quality of her eggs. They are large, even and bulbous,clean and well manicured. Her nest is clean and well maintained, and not full of poo as with some juvenile attempts.
Quality is equally apparent in the nest below, containing an epic 10 Blue-winged teal eggs. These little birds have the most wonderful down, and in spite of their name not applying to the female plumage I swear that the down lining does have a kind of bluey hue… This is a very large clutch, as my experience would hint at an average of around 7 eggs. These lovely little birds are a rare sight in WWT centres nowadays so we look forward to working with her on this species.
Rosemary’s true love however, is with her flock of common Eider. These wonderful birds breed every year without fail, in the strangest of places. She has always maintained that they do this out of trust, as a result of developing a relationship with her throughout the years. This trust is not only based on her reliability with foodstuffs, nest boxes and nest material, but her positive attitude during the rearing stage and positive demeanour. Wandering around her breeding pens I can only agree. Whilst the Slimbridge birds have a wonderful habitat and are exceptionally calm and content around our visitors, her birds have a certain special something. This wonderful female below had 4 eggs, of which 2 have now hatched out at WWT Slimbridge. There really is nothing so beautiful as an Eider…
I wish the very best of luck to Rosemary for the rest of the season.