I love this time of the year. The days are getting longer, and old friends are returning to Coracle Cove…like these Goldeneyes with their beautiful markings and a most interesting courtship ritual.
Coracle Cove is located at Four Mile Point on Sechelt Inlet, a beautiful, pristine environment, and this is the time of the year when wildlife begins to return, with new sightings waiting to be seen almost every day.
This trio were very interested in what was below the water, diving repeatedly to break off the mussels that had attached themselves to the bottom of our dock. This is a handsome male who’s attracted two female companions.
But it was his behaviour that really got my attention, as I had just read about it earlier that morning. The image above (courtesy of Bird Note) is his signature courting move. He thrusts his iridescent green-black head forward for a moment, then whips it back so that his nape touches his rump and his bill points skyward. Finally, he slings his head forward and makes a high buzzy call while splashing water outward with his feet.
Apparently it’s a genuine turn-on for female goldeneyes. But he’s a rambler. After she lays their eggs, the goldeneye male abandons his mate and parental duties. It’s common conduct among ducks
It was a real privilege to have witnessed this courtship ritual and I’ll be watching more carefully to see it again, usually just around dusk.
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