Wednesday 30 October 2013

There are not many Jays to be seen in the park at the moment. No doubt they are all busy gathering and hiding nuts for the winter.

They have a remarkable memory for where they have cached their food, apparently remembering thousands of locations. Jays are as intelligent as their sharp grey-eyed gaze suggests. It is rather like being looked at by a fox: they know who's boss and they won't stand any nonsense.

Another sharp gaze, as a Black-Headed Gull eyes a Great Crested Grebe passing by under water, wondering where it will surface and whether it will be carrying a fish.

The gull is at a disadvantage, since if the grebe moves more than a short distance away, the refraction of the water will make it impossible to see. The grebe can see the gull's silly little feet paddling in the water from anywhere, and has only to move away before surfacing to make sure its meal is safe. Most of the losses to gulls happen when the grebe is passing a fish to a chick.

Unusually, this young Black-Headed Gull is knocking a senior one off the post.

These gulls get almost completely adult-looking plumage within a year, but for a while they retain the black tips to their tail feathers, and their legs are marmalade-coloured rather than the deep red of a mature bird.

A Pochard shows a beautiful red eye as it splashes about scooping up food from the water.

Pochards eat just about anything they can gather on the surface or off the bottom, both plants and small animals.

This Great Tit has found a hole full of insects in a branch of a swamp cypress.

It stayed at this spot for five minutes, so there must have been a lot of bugs in the hole.

No sign of any owls today. We will keep looking, of course.


  1. Dear Ralph, your photos are getting SO good. I noticed that my reaction to your first photo today was 'what a lovely bird!'. When, in fact, I see masses of jays in the little garden opposite, through the windows in my flat, and find them 'rather boring'.

  2. Thanks for your kind words. But that picture was just the Jay posing attractively in the sunlight, and all I had to do was press the button.