Sunday 4 February 2018

A Cormorant on the posts at Peter Pan was already in breeding plumage. The white thigh patch and white bristly feathers on the head may be attractive only to another Cormorant, but by any standards they have beautiful turquoise green eyes.

There was the usual unruly mob of waterfowl, but none more unruly than the triangle of the Red-Crested Pochard drake who fancies a female Mallard, and the Mallard drake who is trying to keep him away from her.

Someone was feeding birds near the Henry Moore sculpture. Ten Grey Herons stood around the edge of the crowd, waiting for a chance to dive in and grab some food.

A Jay looked impatiently at me because I was filming it instead of giving it a peanut.

The Little Owl near the Albert Memorial stared down from her oak tree.

There has been no sign of the owls at the leaf yard for some time. The male owl who uses this hole would never have tolerated a Stock Dove in it ...

... and there was an Egyptian Goose on top of their nest tree.

Probably they are inside the leaf yard, and we shan't see them again till there are leaves on the chestnut tree.

But there are signs of spring. A Long-Tailed Tit inspected some willow catkins, looking for insects.

The usual small birds came out of the leaf yard to be fed: Great Tits ...

... Blue Tits ...

... the solitary and very camera-shy Coal Tit ...

... and a pair of Nuthatches.

Some splendid pictures from Tinúviel in Spain. She has been to Monfragüe, where there were Griffon Vultures flying around the rocks ...

... and one bringing a twig to its nest.

There was also a female Blackcap in an olive tree, maybe looking for insects among the fruit.


  1. Great that your ankle has recovered Ralph. I spent some time watching and photographing that over-enthusiastic Red-Crested Pochard and female Mallard on Friday, but the intervening male Mallard was one of the dark coloured chaps. (She’s clearly a popular lady.) I was interested by your link to the photos of Pochard/Mallard hybrids. Is it simply a lack of female R-C Pochards which precipitated this behaviour in male Mallards?

    1. Thanks. I haven't seen one of the dark Mallard brothers attack the Red-Crested Pochard, but today two different drakes were having a got at him, and the female also gave him peck, which is in the video. I think the brush with the Common Pochard drake was just part of the jostling to get to the food.