Saturday 22 December 2012

A soggy day, but it didn't deter this slightly damp Coal Tit from coming out to be fed.

Once a Coal Tit finds someone with food it likes -- pine nuts are the first choice -- it will follow them, often for a hundred yards or more, taking piece after piece. Some of the food will be cached in cracks in tree bark so that the bird can come back later. Unless, that is, a Great Tit has spotted the Coal Tit putting away its morsel and has gone in to steal it.

In the Italian Garden, a young Mute Swan had decided that it couldn't get any wetter and had put its head under the shower.

For the next two photographs, thanks to Wendy and Gina, whom I met in the park yesterday. They had already visited the Tawny Owls' nest tree and taken this fine picture of the male owl being annoyed by a squirrel.

Readers of Beatrix Potter's Squirrel Nutkin will remember what happened to the impertinent hero when he taunted Old Brown the owl, got too close to him, and was seized. He wrenched himself away, but lost his tail in the escape. Although red squirrels are smaller than the American grey ones that have ousted them in southern England, they would be too large to be a Tawny Owl's prey, though I am sure that the owl would attack one if it felt threatened.

Here a male Chaffinch feeding on my hand refuses to shift when a female Great Tit tries to land.

Once a Chaffinch becomes confident, it will stay on your hand taking one piece of food after another until it has got as much as it can carry in its beak, and only then will it fly away to eat its takings.


  1. Beautiful picture! How is it that this bird is tame enough to feed from your hand?

  2. It took years before Coal Tits or Chaffinches would come down to be fed. But essentially they see the other, bolder birds taking food and follow their example.