Wednesday 16 January 2013

A cold day, and the Long Water was partly frozen. The chill did not deter a Starling from having a bath at the water's edge.

The Bearded Tits are still in the reeds at the Diana memorial fountain, their butterscotch-coloured plumage looking very fine in the sunlight.

Their taxonomic name is Panurus biarmicus -- the species name biarmicus is from Linnaeus' original classification of 1758, though he included the bird in the main tit genus Parus, from which it was removed by Koch in 1816 and put in a genus of its own, Panurus, meaning 'all tail' and referring to its very long tail. Biarmicus apparently refers to 'the Biarmis, a people ... inhabiting the remoter parts of Finland', mentioned in the enormous 1761 work An Universal History, from the earliest accounts to the present time, vol 32, The History of Denmark, p 37. According to Thomas Bewick's British Birds, 1797-1804, 'It is said that they were first brought to this country from Denmark by the Countess of Albermarle, and that some of them, having made their escape, founded a colony here; but Mr Latham, with great probability, supposes that they are ours ab origine, and that it is owing to their frequenting the places where reeds grow, and are not easily accessible, that so little is known of them.'

A pair of Gadwall were cruising around the Lido. The subtle grey vermiculated plumage of the male is an elegant contrast to the gaudy outfits of most drakes.

Behind the Albert Memorial, a Mistle Thrush was repeatedly uttering its loud rattling call from a treetop.

I think it was defying a Magpie, a bird for which Mistle Thrushes have a special hatred, because Magpies steal their eggs. Sometimes you see one or two of these thrushes attacking a Magpie by repeatedly buzzing it and hitting it on the head, rattling furiously all the while.


  1. Hi Ralph

    As always, an interesting blog.

    I hope you don't mind but a small correction:- Linnaeus (1758) actually used the name Parus biarmicus. The name Panurus didn't appear until Koch 1816.

    Still a superb bird!

    1. Many thanks for the correction -- have changed the text. I should have spotted this, as I actually have a copy of Bewick, where it is referred to as Parus.

  2. Thank you for a photo which shows more of the BT's beautiful colouring; perfect complemnts the orange-brown and blue-grey against the yellow ocre. Colours much loved by my Icon Master.