Saturday 23 November 2013

The Shovellers were close inshore near the Italian Garden, where there was not much room for them to pursue their usual aimless course. Two of them, moving with their heads under water, ran into each other, and you can see the resulting mild squabble on the right of this picture.

I was looking at this spectacle with Elizabeth, who spotted a small bird moving on the far left, dimly visible just above the rock in the picture above. It turned out to be the elusive Little Grebe, looking for food among the reed stems. It was moving away, but I managed to get a distant shot.

Two young Great Crested Grebes were practising their adult courtship ritual under the willow tree near the bridge.

The basic movements are instinctive for a grebe, and even grebes of a different genus, the big American Clark's and Western Grebes, have the same head-shaking display. But the ritual has to be practised. The culminating dance with bits of water weed is particularly difficult, and you sometimes see inexperienced couples making a complete mess of it, because they can't yet read their partner's body language and get the timing wrong.

Meanwhile the adults, relieved of the long burden of childcare, were having a nice rest.

The Tawny Owls were in their usual tree. The male is still unusually restless, and when I had taken the usual picture of him looking at me over the top of the branch and had walked to the other side of the branch, he changed his position and kept one wary eye on me.

No sign of a Little Owl today. There were also few birds on the yew bush which yesterday was full of Blackbirds, because the number of weekend visitors on the path had disturbed them. However, a Blue Tit in this bush now comes out to be fed as soon as I approach.

1 comment:

  1. So glad that you were able to capture our Little Grebe and the back-lit pair of young Greater Crested.