Thursday 19 April 2012

The male Little Owl showed himself again, on a day of heavy showers, hail and thunder when there was almost no one in the park. He allowed me to take several pictures of him before flying to his usual hole in the sweet chestnut tree.

The tree, oddly, had several Great Tits and Coal Tits and the bold male Chaffinch in it, all of whom came to be fed as soon as the owl had gone in. I am sure that the owl would make a meal of any of them if he got the chance.

I sheltered from a violent downpour under one of the horse chestnut trees in front of the Tawny Owls' nest tree, with the male owl in the same tree forty feet above. I didn't see any of the others in a quick trip around the usual trees, but lightning was flashing around me and it was no day for hanging about in the open air.

The Chaffinch had followed me up to my shelter and perched on my hand for more than a minute eating pine nuts and sunflower seeds. There were also a pair of Mallards under the tree; even these waterproof birds don't like being hailed on. I gave them some bits of digestive biscuit.

In heavy rain you notice that some birds are less waterproof than others. Blue Tits become very bedraggled, and Ring-Necked Parakeets get absolutely saturated.

The parakeets in the park are Psittacula krameri manillensis, a subspecies from southern India and other hot regions. It is remarkable how hardy they are in this chilly country. But they have been in the west for a long time as pets. Here is a mosaic of about 200 BC from the Palace at Pergamon in Asia Minor, then a Greek city. The artist has overdone the red tesserae: these birds' beaks have a black lower mandible and their feet are beige.

1 comment:

  1. I again enjoyed the personal narratives and scientific information. Brave of you to venture out in such bad weather. I am so glad that you were rewarded by those sights of the Little Owl.