Sunday 13 March 2022

Finding worms

I was asked on the blog how Redwings find worms. They seem to spend a while looking around, and it's clear that at some times worms stick their heads above ground, especially on a drizzly day like today. But they also dig down to get apparently hidden worms, so their sensitive hearing and ability to feel vibration with their feet must also play a part.

A Robin in the Rose Garden was also glad of the drizzle. They can tackle quite large worms, which they then cut into bite-size lengths.

Pied Wagtails hunting along the shore find tiny insects and larvae invisible to the human eye. They must have extremely sharp vision.

A Chaffinch at the bridge took advantage of a few minutes' dry interval to come out on a twig.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker drummed on a tree between the leaf yard and the Physical Energy statue. It was being answered by another 200 yards to the south.

A pair of Wood Pigeons have been visiting this branch for several days. Suddenly an extra male landed between them and started displaying at the female on the left. She gave him a nasty look which caused him to fly away.

One of the Grey Heron pair stood in the nest with the satisfied look of a parent who has finally got the children to go to sleep.

The other was well out of the way in the top of the next tree.

A Cormorant perched on a fallen tree in the Long Water. At no time this winter have Cormorants completely left the lake, which they usually do when they have eaten so many of the fish that it's no longer worth their time hunting. Evidently the fish population is standing up to their depredations.

Great Crested Grebes displayed on the Serpentine.

The Coots nesting on the post at Peter Pan have made a solid structure with the benefit of twigs brought down by the storm and subsequent days of high wind.

A Moorhen enjoyed a bit of tree climbing.

It looks as if a pair of Mute Swans intend to nest on the edge of the Long Water next to the bridge. This is the territory of the dominant swan, of course, but there's not much he can do to remove them if they're established on the bank. However, the place is open to fox attack and no nest here has ever succeeded.

Under the bridge, a sad tribute to Kai Schachter, a 19-year-old artist who killed himself for no clear reason.

Finally, a picture from Spain taken by Tinúviel's bird guide Jesús Porrras: a pair of Lesser Kestrels on a grain silo at Trujillo.


  1. I've googled Kai Schachter's story and it is heartbreaking.

    Some attempt to inject levity (we all can do with a little levity in these dark times): doesn't it look like the right-hand Grebe is smiling at the camera while its partner tells a joke?

    I always wondered how thrushes of all descriptions and blackbirds managed to locate and grab worms at almost lightning speed. The video certainly explains the technique. It must be quite a sight to see a Robin haul up a worm longer than itself, but I wouldn't put it past such tiny featherballs of ferocity.

    1. I don't think a Robin can haul up a really large worm -- you can see what an effort it is for a Redwing in Virginia's picture posted on Friday. But they can certainly manage medium-sized ones. Further effort is needed to peck them into sections, so they really have to work for their meal.

  2. Beautiful photo of the Lesser Kestrel pair. Must be three years since I last saw these in Spain.

    So sad that such a gifted artist should take his life.

    Good to see the young Heron looking so healthy.

    1. The young herons were out of the nest and climbing around this morning, the first time I've seen them out.