Wednesday, 26 February 2014

A day of missing birds that other people saw: a Mealy Redpoll and a Lesser Redpoll in the birch trees beside the Long Water, and three Common Terns visiting the Long Water. I missed the Tawny Owl too. He was very late coming out, and several people were still waiting for him when I gave up at 4.30.

Nevertheless there were some interesting sights. A young Herring Gull was doing the worm dance in the enclosure of the Diana memorial, pattering its little feet on the ground to imitate the sound of falling rain to bring up worms.

For more about this dance and a video, see Africa Gómez' consistently interesting blog The Rattling Crow.

There were some Redwings in a tree on the Parade Ground about 50 yards northeast of the Dell restaurant, with male singing their chattering song. They were rather hard to photograph through the twigs, and this is the best shot I could get.

While I was photographing them a Treecreeper climbed up the same tree. Here it is hanging upside down from a branch with its remarkable claws, with an insect clamped in its beak.

And while we were waiting in vain for the owl, a Stock Dove flew into an adjacent tree.

There are quite a few of these in this area. You have to look quite closely to distinguish them from Feral Pigeons; note the dark eyes. They also have shorter bars on their wings, and are all the same colour, unlike the very varied Feral Pigeons.

There were five Mandarin drakes on the Long Water. Here are two of them.

Only two females were visible, and the others may already be nesting in tree holes.

One of the Coal Tits in the Leaf Yard came out for some food and followed me closely for several minutes, taking more and more and caching it in cracks in tree bark.

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