Saturday 18 January 2014

A pair of Great Crested Grebes were looking for nest sites in the willow tree near the bridge.

This involves a lot of diving and poking around under water, as the arrangement of branches below the surface must seem suitable to them for supporting the chaotic mass of twigs and weed that is a grebes' nest. The exploration is not carried out with any urgency, and can go on literally for months before they decide that the time is right. It's the equivalent of humans staring into the windows of estate agents' shops ogling houses they never mean to buy.

The male Tawny Owl was in his usual place on the nest tree.

He was asleep in the middle of the day, but when I came past just before sunset he had woken up and was looking around before going hunting. He now has to feed his mate, and if all goes well he will be feeding owlets in a month's time.

Andy Sunters sent me this atmospheric photograph taken on a grey windy day, showing Common Gulls and Black-Headed Gulls fighting for a thrown piece of bread.

The Common Gulls are the slightly larger ones with a white patch on each wingtip.

A Pied Wagtail was running along the edge of the Round Pond, and came towards me very confidently.

I had the teleconverter lens on my camera and couldn't photograph anything less than 18 ft away, so I had to retreat as fast as it advanced. Usually you have to approach them, and this frightens them away.

This Robin is the owner of the large reed bed near the Diana fountain, and was perching on the low fence in front of it to defend his property.

His feathers are fluffed up against the cold. Robins are enormously variable in shape: slim birds in summer, practically spherical on a cold winter's day.

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