Saturday 1 December 2012

Just one more Shoveller has turned up on the Round Pond, bringing the total there to three. Since they are very visible on the open pond, I don't think I was mistaken about the number before, and they really are trickling into the Park one or two at a time. The same seven Shovellers were on the east side of the Long Water, completely unconcerned as a pair of Little Grebes rushed around them, diving and surfacing inches away.

Under the willow tree near the Italian Garden, a Moorhen showed an equal lack of interest in a busy Little Grebe.

However, the gulls that hang around both Great Crested and Little Grebes and try to steal their fish do notice their presence. Sometimes you see one hastily leaping into the air with an indignant squawk because a grebe has swum under it and pecked its feet. When particularly annoyed, a Great Crested Grebe will charge at a gull sitting on the water. The gull always takes off before the grebe arrives, but the frightening demonstration is enough to keep it away.

This year's young Grey Herons are beginning to have a more adult appearance, with the untidy breast feathers that look rather as if the bird were wearing a scarf. But they still have grey heads rather than the black and white of an adult.

The young Egyptian Geese at the Round Pond are now large enough to be left unsupervised for a while, so their parents can wander down to the edge of the water and watch the boats go by.

A female Blackbird, one of this winter's migrants, rummages in fallen leaves for a worm or some other small snack.

This picture was taken in the wooded area at the bottom of Buck Hill. The fallen leaves are left to lie here, so it is a good place for Blackbirds and thrushes of all kinds; also, the leaf litter keeps down the nettles. If the park authorities had the good sense to let the fallen leaves alone in all the shrubberies instead of blowing them out, they would have fewer weeds to worry about, and we would have more thrushes.

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