3rd December 2014

Today I’ve found a credible explanation for the saying ‘as bald as a coot’ so its going to be a Coot day. Found on most inland waters, the Coot is a close cousin of the smaller Moorhen. It can behave aggressively during the breeding season, when it is highly territorial, but gathers in quite large groups at this time of year. It swims well, having special

Even from a distance the white beak and shield on a Coot is clearly visible

Even from a distance the white beak and shield on a Coot is clearly visible

Coot

Coot

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lobes on its feet, rather than being webbed, and dives as deep as two metres to find food. It has a distinctive white beak and shield above the beak, which is visible from quite a distance, but it is not bald! It turns out that the term ‘bald’ can also mean ‘streaked with white’ as in ‘piebald’. The phrase goes back a long way, occurring in 1430, in John Lydgate’s ‘Chronicle of Troy”: “And yet he is as bald as is a Coote”! Conditions: A cold, crisp, frosty day, still, with blue skies. Temperature: Max 5- Min 2 C.

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