Sunday 14 December 2014

There was a Redwing in the rowan tree on Buck Hill, unusually approachable as normally these shy birds fly away when you get within 50 yards of them.

The fallen rowan berries are now completely rotten and none of the various thrushes in this tree was trying to eat them, but evidently they are used to visiting that tree and find it a convenient perch. Sparrowhawks pass over this place regularly, and a tree with dense twigs provides a good shelter.

The Coal Tits in the leaf yard are also now completely used to being photographed, though you still have to quick to catch them as they flit about.

These Shovellers at the Vista were also much less shy than Shovellers usually are. A couple of dozen had massed at the water's edge and were cruising around in random directions.

The Mallard drakes have started early. It can't be much fun being a female Mallard.

A Carrion Crow was having a bath in the Serpentine. This is quite a long ritual. After a couple of minutes of wild splashing ...

... the bird flaps soggily into a nearby tree and preens and shakes off the water.

Then it goes back into the lake to splash again, and so on for several cycles. Birds bathe to remove parasites from their feathers, and this crow must end up pretty free of them.

A Black-Headed Gull was strolling up and down the edge of the waterfall in the Dell. It seemed to be simply enjoying the sensation of the water rushing over its feet.

The male Tawny Owl spent the whole day outside on his favourite perch on the nest tree.

No one has seen the female owl for some time. She may be in the nest hole in the hollow trunk below the male's station, but I don't think she would be nesting now. This pair nest very early, but not yet. It takes just over two months from laying eggs to the time the owlets emerge, and the earliest that owlets have been seen is 28 February; most years, they come out in mid-March, and in the 2014 season they were a whole month later than that.


  1. I've wondered how mallard drakes detect the oestrus of unwilling females. Or were these two behaving as a couple? Jim n.L.

    1. I think that Mallard drakes just go for anything and everything.

    2. A most regrettable habit I am sure ;)