Tuesday 17 December 2013

Both the Tawny Owls were out today, side by side on their balcony, awake and taking notice. The female is on the left of the picture.

This morning Lida, who had come to look at the Little Owls' tree, saw squirrels going into the holes in the tree and was worried about the owls' safety. I think that a Little Owl could probably see off a squirrel if annoyed, with a slash of its razor-sharp talons. On the other hand, if squirrels have taken to that tree it might cause the owls to shift to another tree where they would not be bothered by intruders. They have already changed trees once, going from the sweet chestnut they occupied last year to the next one up the slope. The tree was also full of parakeets, but they are not serious contenders -- and indeed the larger Tawny Owls view them as lunch.

Three Nuthatches came down to be fed from the railings. They are quite used to this now, and show no fear of us, though I don't think I shall ever get one to feed from my hand.

Purely from a photographic point of view, it's a pity that they perch on one section of rail and reach round the back of the post to take food from the next, so you get a great big bit of iron in the way.

And two of the Coal Tits came to my hand to be fed. They are also confident now, and less nervous about being knocked out of the way by the larger tits. But there is definitely an order of precedence, and bigger birds are at the head of the queue.

There was just one female Blackbird in the rowan trees on Buck Hill.

Some Mistle Thrushes could be heard rattling in adjacent trees, but didn't come down. So far this winter I have heard Song Thrushes , Mistle Thrushes and Wood Pigeons singing quite often; a Great Tit was singing yesterday; and this morning a Goldcrest was singing too in a holly tree in the Flower Walk -- all these, of course, in addition to the Robins, which sing all year round.

A visitor was throwing pieces of bread for Black-Headed Gulls to catch in midair.

My favourite gull EY09813 has become much more adept at catching the pieces of biscuit I throw for it, and now seldom fails to grab them before they fall.


  1. Oddly ,the shyest visitor to my hand full of seeds a few days ago was a (young, I think) Great Tit; took ages to decide that I was safe, and the observation of many other other birds eating. Was still very nervous.

    1. It's no exaggeration to say that birds have individual personalities.