Monday, 29 December 2014

Day 58 - On The Fifth Day of Nature

On the Fifth Day of Nature my true love gave to me, 5 Golden Eyes, 4 Calling Birds, 3 Brown Chickens, 2 Collared Doves and a Partridge on a boardwalk.

4 Common Golden eyes (Bucephala islandica) and 1 Barrow's
Golden eye and common Golden eye hybrid (2nd from the left)

Thanks to Benjamin Madison for the amazing picture.
Hi all, today's Day 58 and The Fifth Day of Nature. The verse of the song The 12 Days of Christmas for The Fifth Day of Christmas goes like this. On The Fifth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 5 gold rings, 4 Calling Birds, 3 French hens, 2 Turtle Doves and a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

My version of it goes like this. On The Fifth Day of Nature my true love gave to me, 5 Goldeneyes, 4 Calling Birds, 3 brown Chickens, 2 Collared Doves and a Partridge on a board walk.

The new item in the song is of course the goldeneyes. I have been looking for pictures for a while and I found another nature blog called 'Victoria Daily Photo'. Big thanks to the maker of the blog Benjamin Madison for letting me use this picture. Click here to see his blog. The birds in Benjamins photo are Barrows Goldeneyes and I saw Common Goldeneyes today at Bolton-on-Swale.

Anyway, here are the facts about golden eyes:

    Female Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)
  • The most distinguishable part of the Golden eye is of course the golden eye. This is clearly visible in the photo you can see to the right of this text.
  • Golden eyes first nested in Scotland in 1970 and since then the birds have spread all over the UK.
  • Their most favoured nesting place is in specially designed bird boxes put up on trees close to water.
  • Golden eyes stay in their first nesting area (central Scotland) all year round but in the rest of the UK they only spend the Winter.
  • They are 46cm long with a 72cm wingspan. Male birds weigh 1kg and females weigh 750g, about the normal size for a wading bird.
Female Goldeneye at Bolton-on-Swale Lake
  • Golden eyes are an amber status bird because they have only 200 breeding pairs left in the UK. To qualify as an amber status bird there must only be between 1 and 900 breeding pairs. This means Golden eyes easily qualify.
  • They usually lay 8-11 eggs in a year as in one clutch they lay that many and they only have one brood a year.
  • It takes about 29-30 days incubation until they hatch and after 57-66 days, the baby birds fledge.
  • They eat insects, molluscs and crustaceans which they mainly get through diving. I saw one eating a fish and missed getting a photo of it as I was eating a mince pie at the time!
  • Goldeneyes have a great courtship ritual which includes a loud double whistle which can apparently be heard over a kilometer away.
  • The oldest known Goldeneye was 12 years old.
I hope that tells you a lot about these lovely birds but here are some links to some more information if you want to find out more:

Hope you enjoyed,


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