The lovely thing about having an office that looks out on the river is the wildlife that you get to see on a daily basis. I was having a rather stressful afternoon last week where the phone was ringing off the hook. Everytime I ended a call; someone else would phone. I was finding the whole thing rather frustrating and then I heard a cheep, cheep outside the window. As I was already at the end of my tether and I took a quick glance out the window to put a face to the creature that was being so irritatingly noisy. As soon as I saw this noisy bundle, perched on a rock underneath the office window, my annoyance and frustration just melted away (wildlife is amazing isn’t it!).
What I saw was a group of five goosander chicks. I think they were making a lot of noise because their mother wasn’t around; she was probably off hunting for food. I have never seen goosander chicks here before and it was such a lovely sight. Often they will hitchhike a lift on their mothers back when they are really small. These guys were getting to be quite big so if mum was still offering a ride I think they would have to take it in turns!
Goosander are members of the sawbill family as they have a long, thin, serrated bill. They dive down under the water and catch fish and because they have a serrated bill; the fish cannot easily get away. When the chicks get a bit older they will copy their mother in trying to catch food but I think they still seem a bit young for that.
I was hoping to see them again the next morning but alas they were gone. After all, that’s why they call it ‘wild’life.
Laura Preston – Scottish Wildlife Trust, Falls of Clyde Ranger