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Goldcrests, Cormorants, etc

On our Sunday morning walk around the Reading University lakes, Zoe and I saw a goldcrest.  It was in a small leafless tree only 3 metres away and it didn't seem to be bothered at all by our presence.  It fitted about from twig to twig, sometimes hanging upside down.  We watched it for about 30 seconds, and followed it when it flew to another tree nearby.  Its crest was a pale yellow colour which I take to indicate that it was a female, though I suppose it is just possible that males lose the redness in their crests in the winter.  When  we got home again I did consider the possibility that it might have been a firecrest, but discounted this when I read in BWP-CE that the British population of firecrests was only a few hundred, whereas the population of goldcrests is around a million.

We also saw four cormorants on the lake.  Two of them seemed to be paired up - when one flew off the other followed.  One of the other two was distinctly smaller than the other three - maybe it was a juvenile.  We later saw the small one fishing - swimming around with its body very low in the water and then suddenly diving below the surface.

We also saw our strange duck again, the one with the white head and the greenish black body.  Its head was more white with small dark patches, than the pure white that I implied in my earlier account.  Also, its legs were a pale buff colour rather than yellow.  It again was very forward in coming to beg for food.  It was definitely not a mallard.

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