Sunday 10 November 2013

There were many visitors to the reliable Tawny Owls, who were in their usual place in the beech tree and taking no notice whatever of the commotion beneath. In this picture the female owl is on the left.

When I came back at sunset, the male owl was just waking up, and gave me a stare with his huge dark eyes.

(This may not be a sharp shot, but it is a tribute to my camera that it got it at all in the last of the daylight, handheld at 1/15 second , f2.8 and 24x zoom.)

The air over the lake was swirling with gulls taking advantage of the Sunday visitors. Here are three stages of coming down on the water in what a helicopter pilot would call a 'zero-zero landing' -- stopping forward motion completely just at the moment when the bird touches down. To do this, the bird places all its flying surfaces at right angles to its direction of flight, which both stops it and stalls its wings so that they no longer create lift, and it drops.

From top right to bottom left, they are a first-winter Black-Headed Gull, with some brown patches still on the wings and black-tipped tail feathers; an adult Black-Headed Gull; and a Common Gull, showing the white patches on its wingtips.

The bird food on offer is a strange selection. I think that the orange stuff these Feral Pigeons are eating is lentils.

I have also seen the park pigeons eating curry with enthusiasm. Birds can't taste the hotness of chilli -- a neat bit of evolution which allows the birds to eat what to them are the sweet fruits of the chilli pepper plant and distribute its seeds, while mammals, whose more thorough digestive systems would spoil the seeds, find the spicy taste unbearable and leave the fruits alone.

The young Great Crested Grebes at the bridge are now being consistently chased away by their parents. Here a young grebe is completely awash as it flees.

But they are managing to catch their own fish in the rich hunting ground around the wire baskets, and here are two well fed youngsters having a nap under the willow tree.

1 comment:

  1. It was great to see you again today. Gina and I also went back to see the Tawnys later in the day, and I managed to get a couple of shots. Link to my blog below. We'll probably be back at the park next Saturday, so hopefully the Little Owls will make an appearance too.