Friday 7 December 2012

A cold bright day and nothing out of the ordinary to see -- though it's a sign of the wonderful variety of birds in the park that seeing a Tawny Owl can be considered ordinary. He was peacefully asleep in his usual place, and there was no sign of his mate.

Winter brings Starlings to interfere with feeding the small birds. They are present at other times, but there are many other sources of food to divert them, such as people sitting outside at the park restaurants. Now, when you hold out a hand full of food for the Great Tits, Blue Tits, Coal Tits, Robins and Chaffinches, you are likely to be dive-bombed by a lightning-speed Starling, and end up with your hand covered with small wounds from its sharp beak. These intelligent birds approach from the side or the back, so they are not seen until it's too late. This Starling, the only one with a ring, is the most persistent of all. He is a male, as you can see from the blue tinge at the base of his beak; female starlings have a faint pink tinge here. Despite my keeping as close a watch on him, he managed to get several pieces of food and my hand bears the marks.

A Wood Pigeon was eating seeds from one of the ornamental plants in the Dell.

They have a rather sinister ability to eat whole peanuts in the shell. If you throw a peanut to a Carrion Crow, sometimes this portly bird waddles over and gets it first. The crows seem to be afraid of them, for some reason. But crows are nervous creatures.

The youngest Great Crested Grebe, now about three months old, is still begging for food from its parents, although I have seen it fishing for itself when the parents weren't looking. A Black-Headed Gull was watching hungrily, but both parent and young have got the feeding manoeuvre so well grooved by now that it didn't get a chance.

It should be independent in a couple of weeks, and can probably already fly, something it will need to do if the lake freezes seriously.

On a post at the Vista, a second-winter Lesser Black-Backed Gull was looking severely at me as I photographed it.

1 comment:

  1. A question: Do birds see bi-focally, like we do, or is it only an impression we get / interpretation we put on the angle of its head? I would have expected the gull to look at you first with one eye and then turn its head and look at you with the other. Point of information: the 'ornamental plant' from which the Wood pigeon is feeding is the Mahonia japonica.