Saturday 13 December 2014

The fallen berries under the rowan tree on Buck Hill have still not given out, and had again attracted a small crowd of various thrushes, who had probably had a hard time getting worms after the slight frost last night had hardened the ground. This female Blackbird is unusually light coloured, and when I first saw her I thought she was a Song Thrush.

There were a lot of Mistle Thrushes.

The small birds in the leaf yard were also very hungry after a cold night, and came rushing to be fed. A male Nuthatch sang in the sunshine for some time before the pair came down.

The Coal Tits were also there, but for a change here is a picture of a Blue Tit. They are so common that it is easy to forget how beautiful they are.

The male Tawny Owl was also enjoying the sunshine, and was in his usual place, happily unmolested by Magpies, every time I passed his tree.

At Peter Pan a Black-Headed Gull tried to knock another one off its post, a favourite game and one, I think, that reinforces their hierarchy. The gull on the post was a senior one, as you can see from the deep red colour of its legs, and refused to budge, so that the attacker had to sheer off.

The two Egyptian Geese that arrived first in the park, and which have been spectacularly unsuccessful at breeding, have been all over the Vista for some days, displaying noisily and clearly planning another doomed brood. Here the pale-headed female is preening herself and the male is having a flap after washing.

I haven't seen this white-fronted Mallard before. He has peculiar white eyebrows on both sides of his head.

The colours on his body are muted and there is much less contrast between the upper and lower sides than on a normal Mallard drake. Usually when colour patterns get disturbed the result is a loss of detail.


  1. The rotundness (not sure if that is an actual word) of the owls never fails to charm. I wonder if they plump up their feathers in the winter, but they do look rather spherical, which of course only adds to their inherent charm!

    1. Yes, this owl is quite fluffed up. It was a cold day.