During a brief stroll around Heron Pond in Bushy Park on Monday I spent some time watching two of our aquatic species from the Ralidae family that have no difficulty 'walking on water' .... when it's frozen.
First up was the [Common] Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) purposely stalking across the ice and typically carrying its tail high which it flicks up and down as it walks. Like other rails their long toes are spread well apart to provide them with excellent stability on such a slippery surface.
The other species was the [Eurasian] Coot (Fulica atra) with its distinctive white frontal shield and the lobed flaps of skin on its toes (see close up below). When fighting one another their feet play an important role in both attack and defence and I'll share a couple of recent images in a future post.
When one individual stepped off the ice into a small area of unfrozen water it was interesting to see how it gripped the ice ledge with its sharp toenails and used its wings to provide the impetus to regain its footing back on the thin ice. FAB.
Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday.