Saturday 11 January 2014

A Cormorant was fishing in the old water filter of the Italian Garden fountains, a large semicircular area in the Long Water walled off just below the water surface and protected by an iron grille. It is always full of fish, which like the seclusion provided by the wall and the grille. However, the grille is broken in two places, leaving holes large enough for a Cormorant to get in and feast on the crowded fish unable to escape.

The filter is also full of weed, and whenever this Cormorant caught one it surfaced with a beakful of weed which had to be separated from the fish and spat out.

One of the dedicated photographers of Cormorants was in his usual place by the bridge for the third weekend running, but today the action was elsewhere.

Coming back from the Tawny Owls' Tree after taking the daily photograph, I ran into Wendy, who runs the excellent blog Wino Wendy's Wildlife World and was taking pictures along with a bunch of her friends. We went down the side of the leaf yard taking pictures of small birds, including a beautiful Nuthatch.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker appeared briefly but there were too many twigs in the way for a photograph. Later there was a brief spell of drumming, the first I have heard this winter. Several Coal Tits were also singing, as well as the well known Song Thrush in the leaf yard.

We were also visited by the insatiable male Starling with the ring, who disrupts the proceedings when people are tring to feed the small birds. You can see he's male from the bluish area at the base of his beak; on females it's pinkish.

One of the party fed him on her hand, and was rewarded with a peck from his needle-sharp beak.

A couple of Black-Headed Gulls were over the moon near the closed funfair, which is being dismantled; we should be quit of the thing in another four days.

I went to see if the Little Owls had come out at sunset, but darkness fell and I couldn't see them. However, on the way there I was rewarded with a shot of the male Tawny Owl with the last of the sunlight falling on his feathers.

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