Friday 4 January 2013

What appeared to be the female Scaup was lurking under the fallen horse chestnut tree on the Long Water. I couldn't get a picture of her from the near side, so had to go around to the other side and take this poor quality long shot. At the time I was quite happy that this was actually a Scaup.

Later, however, a bird showed up at the Italian Garden, probably the same one, and I got a closer look. She is larger than a Tufted Duck and has no trace of a tuft on her head. But she doesn't have a Scaup's vermiculated pattern on her back, which is plain brown like that of a Tufted Duck. And she has a pale band and a broad black tip on her bill like a Tufted Duck.

Des McKenzie, writing in the London Bird Club Wiki on Thursday, reckons that he saw what might have been a female Scaup--Pochard hybrid. Perhaps this is what he saw, or perhaps she is a Tufted Duck--Pochard hybrid. Anyway, I am confused.

Also on the Long Water were one of the the Great Black-Backed Gulls, sitting on a post opposite the Peter Pan statue; and a fine pair of Mandarins.

The female, with her subtle colour scheme and elegant eye markings, is as beautiful as her gaudy mate.

A Kingfisher flew across the Long Water from Peter Pan and landed in a bush on the far side just to the left of the line of posts. This straight crossing is the flight path on which Kingfishers are most often seen. Curiously, though, when they are perched in the bush it is never possible to see them through binoculars. Maybe the habitual perch just happens to be behind a branch.

The Song Thrush in the leaf yard was singing loud and long. Back home, outside my window as I write this, I can hear my local Blackbird singing rather tentatively. Things are starting early this year.

The male Tawny Owl was in his usual place on top of the nest tree, but the female has not been seen for several days, and it is likely that she is already nesting.

There are some very large flocks of Long-Tailed Tits ranging around the park, carrying other tits and small birds with them.

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