Wednesday 11 December 2013

A gang of Jays was harassing both the Tawny Owls and the Little Owls, flying from one tree to the other. The male Tawny Owl left his usual place on top of the nest tree and flew to a more sheltered branch on the adjacent beech.

 His mate, on her usual balcony, stood her ground. There is nowhere particularly near that a Jay could perch, and she can always retreat into the hole behind her if they get too obstreperous.

The Little Owls retreated into their hollow chestnut tree. Later the male came out again to make the most of the bright sunshine after a night of frost and fog.

It's easy to forget how small these august-looking birds are; compare the chestnut leaf behind him.

Lower down in the same tree, a pair of Ring-Necked Parakeets were prospecting for holes suitable for nesting in. There were plenty on offer in this 323-year-old tree.

Parakeets have a reputation for driving out other hole-nesting birds, but I don't think they will bother the owls; nor will Little Owls trouble them. Tawny Owls, on the other hand, eat parakeets, and our own pair have been seen doing that.

There are three Coal Tits in the leaf yard; probably there were all along but we have only seen the other two as they become accustomed to taking food from humans.

The Coal Tit in the Flower Walk is very bold, and comes out when it sees me approaching. When it lands on my hand, it takes its time selecting the largest available pine nut. There are probably more of these tiny birds in the Flower Walk, as there were two singing males last year and one pair nested in a horse chestnut tree a few yards to the north.

On the roof of a boathouse, a pair of Black-Headed Gulls frame the moon.

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