Mum and five ducklings swimming hard upstream
No interactions present.
White front and less spiky crest confirms female Goosander rather than Red-Breasted Merganser. One of the sawbills, feeding on fish and occasionally small mammals. The youngsters mainly feed on insects.
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The chicks with this female are not necessarily all hers. Goosanders are one of the bird species which forms creches where one female will look after both their own and other goosander's chicks.
This is not done out of the goodness of its heart, it is not altruism. It is done because there is safety in numbers - the more chicks there are in a group the less chance the one taken by a predator is not yours.
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On ID there is a clear cut off on the neck between white and dark. The Merganser seems to blend in (diffuse border). It is a good way to remember which is which if you think Groomed=G for Goosander and Mucky=M for Merganser.
Thanks for your comments. I've never seen a red breasted merganser this side of Scotland, though I've see them in Arran and Cumbrae often enough...
Lat/Lng: 55.9, -3.4
OS grid ref: NT1876