Wednesday 25 December 2013

The male Tawny Owl was being annoyed by several Magpies, and had flown from the nest tree into the adjacent beech, from which he gazed at them with dislike.

After a few minutes they gave up and he composed himself and settled down again.

While I was here a Japanese couple came up, evidently having heard of these famous birds. We did not have a word of a common language, but pointing and exhibiting recently taken pictures allowed them to find the owl and they were gratified, as one is by the sight of one of these splendid birds.

The Little Grebe was again in the reeds near the Italian Garden.

It seems to be an excellent spot for small fish, and perhaps a Little Grebe is the only fishing bird small enough to extract them from their shelter among the stems.

Beside the Serpentine near the bridge, a female Blackbird was finishing off the last few berries on a bush.

Even the abundant rowan trees on Buck Hill are looking a bit denuded now after being blitzed by all kinds of birds for weeks. Here is one of the Mistle Thrushes that have been patronising them, standing on the ground in that typical upright, lanky-looking posture that distinguishes the species.

It is not always possible to see that they are paler and greyer than Song Thrushes, but the shape and placing of the spots on their front is always a clear indication. The spots lower down on their bellies are oval and occur more or less at random. Those of Song Thrushes are pointed at the top end and tend to be arranged in vertical lines.

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