Sunday 11 January 2015

A sunny day gave good views of the small birds in the leaf yard. This is the first Treecreeper I have seen for several months. It was running nimbly up an oak tree.

The usual male Chaffinch was following me down the fence when a second one appeared. This one won't come to my hand yet, but will probably get the idea from the other.

And one of the Nuthatches made several trips to the railings to pick up pine nuts. The other small birds are frightened of this dashing creature, and wait till it has gone.

The male Tawny Owl was in his usual place, apparently asleep.

But suddenly he roused himself, threw back his head, puffed himself up, and emitted a loud hoot.

There may be another pair of Tawnies at least 300 yards away in a garden square on the far side of the Bayswater Road. One has been seen twice on the edge of the park near the Orme Square Lodges. With their superb hearing, they may be able to hear each other even over the traffic noise.

A Pied Wagtail on the edge of the Round Pond was poking around for insects in a pile of dead leaves.

So was a Blackbird in front of Rima, but they are big enough to toss the leaves aside to look underneath.

Another Blackbird was investigating the moss on the wall of the Sunken Garden.

Mario writes that yesterday's mystery mushroom is a species of Twiglet, probably the Scurfy Twiglet, Tubaria furfuracea (furfur is Latin for bran or dandruff). The name will surprise those who remember Twiglets as those warty Marmite-flavoured sticks that were handed around at parties in the 1970s. The mushroom is not edible.


  1. Ralph, do birds feed more or less at different times of day? The birdfeeders in my garden are absolutely humming in the early morning, presumably because the little birds are starving hungry after a long cold night. Mid-day, things seem relatively quiet!

    1. The birds may be starving after a cold night, but there is also the matter of insects. These are around in winter, though less numerous and less obvious. They are cold-blooded, and can't start moving around till the warmth of the day, such as it is, has got to them. So insect-eating birds won't find them until they are up and about.

    2. That had never occurred to me. Thank you!