Saturday 23 December 2017

A new hybrid duck appeared in one of the Italian Gardens fountains. She's probably a Pochard--Tufted cross. Note the amber eyes, intermediate in colour between the yellow eyes of the Tufted Duck to her right and the brown eyes of a female Pochard. We have had two of these hybrids before, but both had some white vermiculated markings on their back, like a Pochard, and brighter white on the front of the face.

Two pairs of Great Crested Grebes were having a territorial dispute on the Long Water. One of them charged the other pair, landing before actual collision. Usually these contests are carried out entirely by threat displays, without any fighting.

Another grebe gave the camera a serious stare ...

... as did a Carrion Crow, but in this case the look means 'Give me a peanut.'

Black-Headed Gulls will fly down to take food from people's hands. This is probably not a good idea, as it will encourage the gulls to grab food that is not being offered.

Black-headed Gulls and Feral Pigeons seem quite happy with the intensely salty snack foods that people throw at them. These can't be good for their health.

But birds do have trouble with the size of things they are offered. A young Herring Gull struggled to swallow a large piece of bread ...

... and a Canada Goose was completely baffled by a long strip of Arab flatbread.

The white-faced Blackbird sometimes asks for sultanas by hiding in an obscure place under a bush and cheeping at me until I find her.

The female Little Owl near the Henry Moore statue was tucked into a corner of the natural balcony in front of her hole.

The owl near the Henry Moore was out on the doorstep of her hole.

There are several dead trees with sawn-off tops next to this tree, and a pair of Egyptian Geese were amusing themsleves by flying from one to another, making a terrible noise. I think this display does not mean that the tree is suitable for a nest site, and indeed that when they do have a good nest tree they keep quiet about it so as not to attract attention.


  1. Love the image of the female Blackbird's calling to you from her secluded spot. It's endearing.

    I'd say, perhaps tourists and casual strollers should be encouraged to feed gulls mid-air. The more videos of gulls snatching food from hapless unsuspecting passers-by, the merrier.

    Merry Christmas to all!

    1. It might be a bit awkward if the gulls started swooping on people carrying snacks, behaviour which has already been seen in some seaside resorts.