Friday, 18 April 2014

The male Tawny Owl was in much the same place as yesterday, and there is no sign of any progress with owlets. This picture taken with the maximum available zoom makes it look as if he was fairly easy to see. He isn't: even if you know where he is you have to wander around with binoculars to find a gap in the leaves.

One of the Nuthatches in the leaf yard was leaping around in a yew bush uttering its foraging call, 'zit zit zit'. When it saw me it stopped and gave me a demanding look, so I put some pine nuts on the railing for it to take.

There is a Moorhen territory at the boat hire platform; the nest is (or will be) safely out of sight under the platform. Another Moorhen wandered into the area and was threatened until it left. A Moorhen's threat posture is similar to that of a Coot, head down and wings raised to make it look larger, but you don't see Moorhens in confrontations as often as you do with Coots.

If it should come to an actual fight, Moorhens kick and try to jump on each other in the same was a Coots. Africa Gómez' interesting blog 'The Rattling Crow' has a picture and a video of this.

In a later post on the same blog she pointed out another detail in the subtle skill of trying to work out the age of large gulls. Both Herring Gulls, as here, and Lesser Black-Backs attain fully adult plumage in their fourth year. But in their fifth, they may still retain a dark band round the tip of the bill which disappears after that.

A female Mallard preening herself was displaying the intricate structure and pattern of her wings and tail.

And a bee was visiting a ceanothus flower beside the Lido.


  1. Beautiful study of the bee on the Ceanothus! Did you have to 'enhance' the blue colour? Meanwhile we wait with bated breath for news of any owlets. I just pray that they have not fallen foul of any disease or other destruction. The male's strange behaviour being that of sadness and frustraion at being unable to entice his dead offspring out of their nest. My brother once gave us a distressing account of a mother seal he found on the cliffs of Pembrokeshire, who was trying to coaxe her still-borne pup into life.

  2. That really is a very deep blue ceanothus -- it's at the east gate of the Lido bathing area.

    I do hope you're not right about the owl.