Thursday 21 December 2017

This is a photograph taken a fortnight ago by Barry Tranfield, of the male Black Redstart which appeared at the gate of the Winter Wasteland. It was a remarkable achievement to capture this elusive bird as it flitted among the trees, and the picture shows its reddish tail to good effect.

Another interesting picture from a few days ago: Mark Williams took this fine shot of a Nuthtatch perched on his hand, wondering which of the available offerings to choose. I've had this bird on my hand a few times, but never got the chance of a picture.

Back to today: a Blue Tit stood tall to get itself noticed so that I would feed it.

The pair of Mistle Thrushes between the Dell and the Rose Garden were flying around together, rattling at each other. These are residents, not migrants, and had a family here last spring.

It's not surprising that the patch of soggy grass at the corner of the Dell always has a pair of Blackbirds on it. The place is an all-you-can-eat worm buffet. Probably the waterlogged soil forces the worms to the surface where they can easily be picked off.

The pair of Canada Geese on the raft seem to have settled in, as if they were reserving a nest site for the spring. But who knows where the raft will have drifted to by then? The next westerly gale will set it on its travels again.

Blondie the Egyptian Goose titivated her unusual pale wings. She is the blondest of all the Egyptians in the park. Even the blond male who -- as blond male Egyptians must -- has inherited the gene from both parents is darker than her.

This is him -- he's the goose whose foot was trapped in a loop of wire. He was near the Dell restaurant, now walking without a limp, though his ankle is still a bit swollen and he will always have a scar. Note that his primaries are the normal Egyptian dark brown, not light greyish brown like Blondie's.

There are few Cormorants on the lake now, as they have eaten the fish down to the point of diminishing returns. This one tried the Italian Garden ponds, but left without catching anything.

This video was shot looking down from the bridge. A Great Crested Grebe swam down the sides of the wire baskets of the fish hatchery, looking for any small fish that are unwise enough to stick their heads out. They can still find enough to eat when the Cormorants have given up, and will stay the winter unless there is a prolonged frosty spell.

The pair of Lesser Black-Backed Gulls whose territory is at the Lido perch on the railings side by side and have a companionable preen.

The male Little Owl near the Albert Memorial was right in the top of the oak tree.

While I was photographing him there, there were signs of movement at the back of the hole, showing that the female was in residence. Then the male flew down to the hole and entered it through the crack in the top of the branch. I saw an owl in the hole which I thought was the female and photographed, but actually it's him again. If you look back at previous posts you can see how much smaller he is than her.

The female owl near the Henry Moore sculpture stared disapprovingly at a Rose-Ringed Parakeet which had landed on the end of her branch.


  1. I do enjoy your pictures of the little passerines. There is something infinitely cheerful about them.

    1. Blue Tits are most engaging little creatures, and can hold their own against the larger Great Tits.

  2. Lovely collection of small birds today! The Blue Tit is so pretty it almost looks like a kawaii manga creature.

    The female Little Owl looks regally annoyed with the lowly parakeet. Commoner, she says.

    1. Nothing can look as indignant as an owl, except possibly the dog Gromit in Nick Park's early films. In both cases it's done entirely with the eyebrows.

  3. Those worms look awfully anaemic, or is that just the light in the vids?

    1. Just the dim light on the shortest day, I think.

  4. Happy Solstice everyone! Days will get longer again.