The camera never lies… Or does it !?!?…

Freaky Beaky…

Well for some of these, I think that’s probably the most apt title… with faces that only a mother could love… ;)
Recently we visited  Arundel Wetland Centre, which is 26 hectares of naturalised landscapes and wetland habitats, home to kingfishers, water voles and many hundreds of wildfowl. Funny story about the Water Vole, but more on that later… ;)

And this one has to be a prime candidate for the coveted title of Freaky Beak of the Year 2011… It’s a Ruddy Duck… but does look strangely cute, in a duck kinda way… ;)

Nothing too freaky here, but you’ve gotta love the creepy golden eye of the… ummmm… Goldeneye….

Speaking of freaky eyes though, the Pochard is definitely one duck that features high on the list of creepy looking with that bright red peeper staring at you…

HAD to include this one in the mix, but not because it’s freaky in any way…. but the kids and I spent quite some time watching these little Long Tailed Ducks scooting around… They’re diving ducks, and seemed to be having so much fun… The thing that appealed to me the most though was their call… Here’s a link to listen to, but to me it sounded as though they were saying “Oy !!, Are you alright ???….. Arrrrrgh !!!”….

Now THIS is DEFINITELY a face that only a mother could love… It’s a baby Coot

And who’d ever believe they’d grow up to look like this !!!… Mummy Coot and Baby Coots learning all about… well… probably how NOT to be picked on by all the other much more appealing baby ducks… “Just get back in there and hide in the bushes until you look like me”

And lastly a White Faced Whistling Duck… for no other reason than… well… I thought I’d best end on one that you gotta love… :)

Now for the Water Vole, which unfortunately we never saw…. The Water Vole had almost been wiped out by Mink, but there’s a concerted effort underway by a lot of various wildlife trusts etc to reverse the decimation (at the expense of the Mink)… and at this particular wetland centre they have successfully re-introduced back in to the surrounding wetlands about 400 wild breeding pairs… Now obviously this is something they’re quite proud of, and readily advertise their success with Water Voles with various display boards around the centre… We were walking past one such display with a big picture of a Water Vole on it, and my youngest daughter stopped… looked at the picture, and exclaimed “Awwwwwww…. Look at the cute little WATER BOWL”…. LOL… And with her, once she HAS a name in her head, then there’s very little you can do to convince her otherwise… Haha… It was even funnier though when she tried to correct one of the guides (who was showing us here we might spot a Water Vole) that it was a Water BOWL !!!… Kids… Gotta love em… almost as much as ducks… ;)

30 responses

  1. Val

    Lovely, lovely post, Brian (but you knew I’d like it!)

    Water bowl… reminds me of how I used to pronounce hyperbole: hyper bowl!

    April 29, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    • Haha… Yeah I’m sure we’ve all had words we were convinced were pronounced correctly at some point… Even now she’s struggling with Vole… lol…

      April 29, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    • I used to pronounce it that way, too! :)

      May 3, 2011 at 9:56 pm

      • Lol.. Well it certainly IS an odd spelling when you know how it sounds…

        May 3, 2011 at 10:12 pm

  2. Avital Pinnick

    LOL! You weren’t watching the royal wedding? :-)

    Beautiful colours on the whistling duck. Is it possible to do HDR with animal photos?

    April 29, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    • Ummm… Was I supposed to be… lol… Nah, I don’t even like weddings of people I know… LOL… And yes it would be possible to HDR an animal, as I’ve done it a few times in the past… Thanks Avital.. :)

      April 29, 2011 at 7:23 pm

  3. That baby coot is CUTE!!! So fuzzy!

    Great story…kid’s say the darndest things, right?

    April 29, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    • They certainly do… I’m not sure I’ll entirely agree about baby coot though… lol…

      April 29, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    • I like all of them. Some are wacky-looking! Like your gravatar!

      May 3, 2011 at 9:58 pm

      • Thanks so much Jessie… I’d say they’re probably all wacky looking… lol…

        May 3, 2011 at 10:13 pm

  4. You’ve certainly offered up quite a variety of freaky beaky’s here. My fave is the coot…if for no other reason that he is the most unusual looking of the bunch. A face only a mother could love surely!

    I’ll be waiting on that photo of the Water Bowl. LOL ;)

    April 29, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    • I guess the whole coot thing MUST be a mothers maternal instinct eh… haha… I hope Brady was slightly less odd looking though… ;)

      Oh, and I’m sure I can rustle up a shot of a water bowl too… ;)

      April 29, 2011 at 7:27 pm

  5. Wow, that coot must be the real inspiration for the story of the ugly duckling! I disagree, however about the long-tailed duck! It definitely qualifies as a bit strange looking. These kooky birds made for some interesting photos – thanks for sharing!

    April 29, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    • You’re not kidding… I remember the first time I ever saw one, and couldn’t believe that it was actually a baby coot… Thanks Karen… :)

      April 29, 2011 at 7:28 pm

  6. aswirly

    Hehehe…Kids! So cute that she tried correcting the guide!! Freaky beaky is an AWESOME title to accompany this awesomely ducky post! I gotta say, I really like that baby coot. I want one! And that ruddy duck? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a beak quite like that. Very cool B :)

    April 29, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    • Thanks A… I’m sure mummy coot wouldn’t miss one, in fact she’d probably be quite relieved to not have quite so many freaky little beaks following her around, destroying her waterway cred… I’ll see what I can do… ;)

      April 29, 2011 at 7:31 pm

  7. Great shots – animals are not the easiest to work with (I always wind-up with an unidentifiable blur).

    That furry creature looks a bit like me when I’ve just woken up in the morning. Well, it looks like me until noon (at least), really.


    April 29, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    • Oh I’ve also got plenty of unidentifiable blurs too … and NOT just of animals… lol…

      April 29, 2011 at 7:35 pm

  8. HA! Duckies! :-)Always loved birds, slowly swingign on the water surface. The one with a blue beal so nice! How colorful they are. The Nature has done a beautiful art on them. The coloring is very brisk and bright, especially when enlarged. Thank you for sharing your little cute friends :-)

    April 29, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    • Thanks so much Irina… These sure were great to both watch AND photograph… We spent all day wondering around…

      May 3, 2011 at 10:07 pm

  9. Thank you for sharing about all these varieties of ducks. I had no idea! I don’t think a one is ugly. The photos are superb. …and I googled water vole. They are so cute!!!!! Oops. I mean water bowl.

    April 30, 2011 at 4:25 am

    • These were just a pretty small selection of the vast variety of ducks residing at this nature reserve… That’s one thing we’re not short of in the UK… Thanks Leslie… :)

      May 3, 2011 at 10:08 pm

  10. You’ve got some strange looking ducks! Except that baby coot, that one is absolutely ADORABLE!! ♥ (I’m a mother, so maybe that explains it ;-) )

    Well shoot, I thought I spotted you, swimming around like a duck, in the fountain in front of Buckingham Palace after the wedding ;-)

    April 30, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    • Haha.. We certainly have, but you’ve gotta luv em… even the baby coot… ;)
      And LOL… It couldn’t have been me, as I was the official photographer… LOL…

      May 3, 2011 at 10:10 pm

  11. Fantastic photographs, really made me smile.

    May 4, 2011 at 2:53 am

    • Thanks so much… They raised a smile or two when I was photographing them too..

      May 4, 2011 at 10:52 pm

  12. LOL Love your comment and the pictures you posted. Never seen ducks look so strange. Thank you for sharing.

    May 5, 2011 at 1:22 am

    • Thanks so much Anne, they certainly were a strange bunch…

      May 7, 2011 at 6:10 pm

  13. Jayne

    LOL…so sweet, especially the baby coot. I wonder if that’s a clever ruse in nature to make ‘cootlets’ look bad to eat? :)

    May 6, 2011 at 7:14 am

    • Haha.. You may well be right there… as I’m pretty sure I’d not fancy trying one…

      May 7, 2011 at 6:15 pm

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