Coots on the Canal

I’ve spent some time recently walking along the towpath of the Regent’s Canal in London.  This photo shows the canal near Victoria Park.

Regents Canal at Victoria Park

Tomorrow’s post has photos of the scenery, but today I just want to show you some birds from the canal.  Adult coots (fulica atra) are a common sight in Britain and Ireland with their black feathers and white heads….

adult coot

….. but I had never noticed their offspring until I spotted this nest through the reeds.

coot nest in reeds

Even from a distance I could see that the chicks were not sporting their parents’ sleek monochrome look.  But until I saw one close up I didn’t realise how funny it looked.

coot chick on stoneOnly a mother could love it, but she does, and she feeds it.

coot feeding her chick Good luck to the coot, mallard, moorhen and goose families along the canal – I hope all the young birds thrive.


11 Comments Add yours

  1. That is the Hertford union canal, not the Regents’ Canal


    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      Thank you for the correction. As for the coots, they were further downstream, as I walked on towards Limehouse. So I think by then I was back on the Regents Canal.


  2. Andrew says:

    Coots are cool but many of the chicks are at high risk of predation, probably from herons or I guess maybe pike too. There is far more urban / suburban wildlife than people realize.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      I just googled “coots london predators” with all those words spelled correctly, and three of the top four search results were about a bank.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Cute little things they are 🙂

    I always loved to watch baby birds and ducklings at our summer cottage when I had the time until few years ago


    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      I saw the first duckling of the year a few days ago. That made me happy.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So that’s what both ‘old’ and ‘new’ COOTS look like! 😉 Does their behaviour mirror an old curmudgeon or are is the aviary avatar more friendly?


    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      I have no idea how the birds got linked to the old curmudgeons. Quick research online told me that there is a long history of using “coot” to describe a fool (originally a fool of any age, now an old one) and of using “bald as a coot” to describe a hairless person (either because the bird’s white patch makes it look featherless, or because it is black and white and therefore pieBALD).
      I wouldn’t blame a coot for being grumpy, as those funny-looking chicks don’t stand much of a chance of making it to adulthood. Andrew’s comment above about herons is all too true.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Fascinating! However pity about the limited chances both for the coots and herons…

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Kim in Fiji says:

    I never knew there were coots that were birds. These are great – and I love the white stockings. Thank you for the wild life 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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