Friday 13 December 2013

The female Little Owl came out for just long enough to give me a severe stare before she fled back into her hollow tree.

The female Tawny Owl was asleep on her usual balcony in the pair's nest tree.

There was no sign of the male of either species.

Three Nuthatches came down to take nuts from the railings in the leaf yard.

They are getting more relaxed about this procedure and one, to my astonishment, came within 18 inches of my hand when I was putting further supplies on the railings. The three Coal Tits are also gaining confidence about landing on the hands of humans.

The rowan trees on Buck Hill were visited while I watched by three Mistle Thrushes, three Blackbirds, a Jay, a Carrion Crow and two Blue Tits, in the intervals of repeated incursions of Starlings, a flock now numbering about 200. The light was dreadfully dim today, and this is the best picture I could get of a Mistle Thrush eating a berry.

Another black and white Mallard has appeared on the Serpentine.

This is not the same as the one that was often visible last year, and is much blacker. It is not certain what sex it is, but it was hanging around with a normal drake. Last year's bird was certainly female and hung around constantly with the same pale drake. A disruption to the mechanism that forms the brindled brown pattern of a female duck's feathers is likely to produce blocks of solid black and white as in both these birds.

To crown a day of very dark pictures, here is one genuinely taken at dusk on the clear evening of the 11th: a fine view of starlings coming in to roost on Buck Hill taken by Andy Sunters.

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