Thursday 5 December 2013

The Tawny Owls have moved into their nest tree. They were seen sitting together on the broken top of the trunk. I found the female by herself on the 'balcony' a bit lower down on the other side of the tree, where a branch has fallen off and left a hole that communicates with the nest inside the trunk.

Although this place was on the lee side of the tree from the gusty breeze, she was still looking a bit windblown. The owls may not be nesting quite yet. They may have decided to change trees to get away from the wind; their recent day station on the beech tree was ratrher exposed.

One of the hybrid ducks seen last year on the Long Water has reappeared.

We think she is a Pochard -- Tufted cross. If you compare her to an ordinary female Pochard, which is the same size and shape ...

... you can see that her colouring approaches that of the darker female Tufted Duck. She has a marmalade-orange eye intermediate between a female Pochard's brown eye and the yellow one of a Tufted Duck, and she has a slight hint of a tuft on the back of her head. The white feathers on her nose, resembling the pattern of a female Scaup, are also sometimes seen in Tufted Ducks.

A Cormorant was fishing over one of the baskets near the bridge, giving a good view from the parapet. It caught several large fish, while a pair of Great Crested Grebes waited a few yards away for their turn at this well stocked fishing ground.

When it had had enough (I suppose that even Cormorants feel full eventually) it swam away and the grebes moved in to take some smaller fish.

At the other end of the bridge, a Wood Pigeon closed its eyes in ecstasy as it gorged itself on berries.

The number of Wood Pigeons in the park is rising quickly. There is plenty of food for them, and they raise large families with great success.

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