Friday, 31 August 2012

Amazing what difference a bit of sunshine makes. Yesterday when I did the monthly bird count on a dark grey day I saw no Grey Herons -- which is most unusual -- but today there were three. Yesterday there were no Starlings, today more than 40 stealing food from the people at the Lido restaurant.

Nearby, there was an unusual Coot with a speckled white head. Pure black birds often have a few white feathers, as if the strain of producing all that melanin was too much for them.

This young Carrion Crow has white secondary wing feathers, which you can see under its folded black primaries. It is one of a family on Buck Hill, which I have watched growing up over the summer. The young bird has stopped pestering its parents for food, and now realises that it is more efficient to cut out the middleman and pester me instead. I am more than happy to give it an occasional peanut, as long as it waits until I'm dead before trying to eat me.

The Moorhens in the Italian Garden were busy climbing the wire netting around the clumps of plants. Rather unkindly, in the interest of getting this photograph I threw food into the water outside the netting so that they had to come out and get it to feed their chicks inside. I also wanted to see whether the two larger chicks really were unable to get through the wire mesh, and I am pretty sure that they are. Even the smallest chick had to make a considerable effort to wriggle through.

At the foot of the waterfall in the Dell, a Grey Wagtail was sunning itself. This is where a pair of Grey Wagtails has nested over the past few years, raising several young. The nest is invisible under the small plank bridge that crosses the stream. I have often seen adult birds flying under and emerging from the bridge.

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