Mallard Ducks on the River Dour, South Kent College, Dover, Kent, UK

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Comments (10)

John Latter on November 30, 2009

Mr and Mrs Mallard Duck out for a Sunday paddle on the River Dour by the Bowling Green clubhouse, the grounds of South Kent College are on the far side.

I was on my way from The Park Inn to Pencester Gardens when I took the photo, it had been raining intermittently earlier in the day and the sky was still overcast.

To be honest, however, I think I would have preferred it if the picture had turned out full of glare, out of focus, or whatever, if it meant being able to catch some small part of the effect when sunlight reflects off of those green head feathers - the metallic sheen can be quite stunning .

I'll have to do that another day :)

The entry for Mallard Ducks on the Royal Societ for the Protection of Birds website states:

The mallard is a large and heavy looking duck. It has a long body and a long and broad bill. The male has a dark green head, a yellow bill, is mainly purple-brown on the breast and grey on the body. The female is mainly brown with an orange bill. It breeds in all parts of the UK in summer and winter, wherever there are suitable wetland habitats, although it is scarcer in upland areas. Mallards in the UK may be resident breeders or migrants - many of the birds that breed in Iceland and northern Europe spend the winter here.

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

This is the Images of Dover website: click on any red or blue "John Latter" link to access the Entry Page.

John Latter on December 5, 2009

The Golden Reflections in the River Dour, South Kent College photo was taken nearby later in the week.

John Latter on November 23, 2010

In addition to those found under the "Bowling Green" tag, the following photos were also taken nearby:

The Pigeon who thinks It`s an Eagle, River Dour

River Dour Cleaning, Ladywell Carpark

And two pubs:

The Park Inn (my local!)

The Sir John Falstaff

Plus, of course, all photos of the Town Hall.

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

This is the Images of Dover website: click on any red or blue "John Latter" link to access the Entry Page.

John Latter on December 10, 2010

The River Dour and the origin of "Dour"

Extracts from Brythonic Languages:

The Brythonic or Brittonic languages (Welsh: ieithoedd Brythonaidd/Prydeinig, Cornish: yethow Brythonek/Predennek, Breton: yezhoù Predenek) form one of the two branches of the Insular Celtic language family, the other being Goidelic.

The Brythonic languages derive from the British language, spoken throughout Britain south of the Firth of Forth during the Iron Age and Roman period.

The Brythonic branch is also referred to as P-Celtic (like Gaulish).

The modern Brythonic languages are generally considered to all derive from a common ancestral language termed Brittonic, British, Common Brythonic, Old Brythonic or Proto-Brythonic, which is thought to have developed from Proto-Celtic or early Insular Celtic by the 6th century BC.

The number of Celtic river names in England generally increases from east to west, a map showing these being given by Jackson ("Language and history in early Britain: a chronological survey of the Brittonic languages, 1st to 12th Century AD"). These names include ones such as Avon, Chew, Frome, Axe, Brue and Exe.

Also river names containing the roots "der-/dar-/dur- " and " -went" E.G. "Derwent, Darwen, Dart, Deer, Adur, Dour, Darent, Went". The Celtic origins seem likely, the meanings more controvertial: Some associate "Der-/Dar-" with the Brythonic word for "OAK(S)" ("derv/dervenn" in Breton, "derow/derowenn" in Cornish, "derw/derwen" in Welsh. Possible but there would have been a lot of oaks around; maybe there was.

As to "-went" some claim this to be a word for "valley" or associated with the Celtic word "nant" for river (like in Welsh). This seems a very unlikely derivation, as there is no known initial consonantal changes from "n-" to "w-". More likely is that the "Der-/Dar-/Dur-" means "water" (c.f. "Dour" in Breton, dowr in Cornish, Dŵr in Welsh) and "-(g)wen(n)(t)" means white/pure.

John Latter on December 10, 2010

The Mallard, or Wild duck (Anas platyrhynchos):

"Probably the best-known and most recognizable of all ducks, is a dabbling duck which breeds throughout the temperate and sub-tropical Americas, Europe, Asia, New Zealand (where it is currently the most common duck species), and Australia.

The male birds have a bright green head, while the female's is light brown. The mallard lives in wetlands, eats water plants, and is gregarious. It is also migratory. The mallard is the ancestor of all domestic ducks, and can interbreed with other species of genus Anas.[2] This interbreeding is causing rarer species of ducks to become genetically diluted."

Wikipedia entry for Mullard Duck

John Latter on October 10, 2011

The River Dour (1)

The River Dour is a river in the county of Kent, in England. It flows from the villages of Temple Ewell and River, through the village of Kearsney, to Dover. It is roughly 4km long.

It originally had a wide estuary on the site of modern Dover, The estuary was a natural harbour for the Bronze Age settlers and traders in the area. The remains of a Bronze Age seagoing boat (from 3,500 years ago), was found in 1992, and it can be seen in Dover Museum.

The Dour Estuary was then used as a port for the Roman town, as a natural harbour for the Roman fleet. But this was silted up in the medieval period, necessitating the construction of various artificial harbours for Dover instead.

The river has been used since AD 762 to power various watermills along its route. These included 8 Corn Mills and 5 paper mills. Buckland Mill (near Buckland Bridge) was one of the first corn mills, it has now been converted into flats. Crabble Mill (is now a restaurant), Old Mill (in Kearsney - is now a private house) and others (also converted into various uses).

Other industries on the river included, iron foundaries, saw mills (demolished) and a tannery (also converted).

Kearsney, Kent and Kearsney Abbey (a former Grand House) are also beside the river.

The River Dour Trail is a new walking trail (set up by the White Cliffs Countryside Project). It follows the Dour from Temple Ewell to Wellington Dock on the seafront. The trail is about 4miles long and takes 2.5 hours to walk fully.

(1) Wikipedia entry for River Dour

John Latter on October 10, 2011

"The entry for Mallard Ducks on the Royal Societ for the Protection of Birds website states" should read:

The entry for Mallard Ducks on the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) website states (etc.)

John Latter on December 26, 2012
John Latter on December 26, 2012

Ornithology is a branch of zoology that concerns the study of birds. Several aspects of ornithology differ from related disciplines, due partly to the high visibility and the aesthetic appeal of birds. Most marked among these is the extent of studies undertaken by amateurs working within the parameters of strict scientific methodology.

The history of ornithology largely reflects the trends in the history of biology. Trends include the move from mere descriptions to the identification of patterns and then towards elucidating the processes that produce the patterns.

(Source: Wikipedia entry for Ornithology)

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on November 30, 2009
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2009/11/29 12:42:00
    • Exposure: 0.017s (1/60)
    • Focal Length: 55.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/8.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO400
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash