Saturday 5 January 2019

It was changeover time at the Grey Herons' nest on the island. Herons share the duty of sitting on eggs and looking after the nestlings when they hatch.

The pair of Great Crested Grebes from the west end of the island, one in summer and the other in winter plumage, look like two different species. They are usually at the other end of the island now, and seem to have their eyes on a new nest site, but calls of territorial defiance from behind the line of wire baskets suggest that they won't have an easy time occupying it.

There was a single grebe on the Round Pond. They never spend more than a few days here. There are plenty of fish, but the place is too open for them to feel comfortable.

A female Pochard at the island looked quietly elegant.

It has been a disappointing year for Shovellers, but today there was a small group of them feeding on the Long Water.

A young Herring Gull played with a bottle cap.

Tom took this picture yesterday, of a Herring Gull with a mysterious object being chased by another which wanted it. The thing looks vaguely humanoid, with a head and one stubby arm showing.

A Common Gull is larger than a Black-Headed Gull, so it kept the bit of bread and the others could only watch enviously.

It was popcorn time for some Carrion Crows.

Crows like to wash, climb out and shake themselves, and then return for another wash. (So do Magpies.) The purpose of washing is to remove parasites, and this is clearly an efficient method.

Another dramatic picture from yesterday by Tom, of a Jay snatching a peanut from my hand.

A group of Rose-Ringed Parakeets near the Albert Memorial were feeding in the grass. They are keen on young dandelion leaves, but it's not the time of year for those, and inspection of the spot didn't show what they were eating.

The Little Owl at the Queen's Temple was in her hole. It's more or less the same picture every time, but frequent views of owls are a necessity.

Lastly, three more excellent pictures by Tom taken yesterday the the leaf yard. A Great Spotted Woodpecker came out on a branch ...

... and flew to another, where it made the mistake of landing too close to a parakeet, which pecked at it angrily.

The local Song Thrush was singing.

Today, on a dull cold morning, it was silent. But as I write this at 7pm a Blackbird is singing outside my window, kept awake by the street lights.


  1. Blackbirds here are beginning to chatter quietly to themselves late at night. I love to hear them so much.

    Wonderful picture of the Jay taking a peanut! So precise and agile.

    1. BTW, I find the picture of the gull carrying off a humanoid doll vaguely disquieting. Doubtless they'd do the same with ordinary humans if they had the size for it.

    2. The Jay clearly enjoys this show of precision flying. Once they get the knack they come back again and again.

      Yes, I found that gull picture worrying too.

  2. I checked the list of 'rare visitors' and it doesn't include the Roc. Nor Garuda. Whew!

    1. It's only a matter of time.

      By the way, my account of a visit to the breeding ground of the roc, in two parts, is here and here.