Taking photographs and shooting video of nature regularly, you do see some interesting things, but what I saw at Hampton Court the other day takes some beating.
In Britain there is an old expression “Daft as a Coot”, or you can call someone a “Crazy Coot” if you are of the Burty Wooster, (Jeeves and Wooster – P.G.Wodehouse) generation!
Do these endearing water fowl however deserve this loony reputation?
Well, the ‘Daft Coot’ in the attached short edit has built a delicate floating nest less than a meter from one of Hampton Court Palace’s huge and very powerful Golden Jubilee fountain jets! The central jet is said to rise to over 30 metres in height, that is some power of water pressure and you can see the immense volume squirted up by the jets, slowed down, in the attached video.
Who in their right mind would want to raise kids right next to that, right?
But wait a minute… maybe this is not just plain crazy, but in fact a clever strategy to deter potential predators or rivals. Coots do have a reputation for being very aggressive towards competing mating pairs. Maybe the regular blasts of the fountains provides protection? After all, who else would want to be that close to such immensley powerful jets of water!
She and her partner seem to have worked out that by situating the nest due West of the fountain nozzle, the prevailing winds that tend to come from the west in most of the UK, will carry most of the spray away from her, while providing summer cooling from the few drops that do hit her . This is all fine of course until the wind changes to the East!
Maybe she is a weather forecaster and we will therefor have westerlies for the next 20 days or so until the eggs hatch!
The fountains are switched off at night, so that should at least give her some peace!
Some of this footage is shot in super slo mo at 200, 400 and 800 Frames per second on a Sony FS700, it helps to show the water in all its majesty.
It will be interesting to see how this Coots eggs and hopefully offspring develop, more to follow…
AL 3rd June 2014