Saturday 3 December 2022

Bath time for a crow

A Carrion Crow had a bath in the shallows at the edge of the Long Water, getting in and out as crows do. It was frightened away by a dog.

Crows at the back of the Queen's Temple milled around eating ants from an underground nest.

A male Chaffinch on a twig in  the Flower Walk stared in annoyance because I couldn't feed him. He doesn't dare to come to my hand, but the ground was covered with Feral Pigeons. Chaffinches do sometimes come to the hand, so maybe cold weather will prompt him to take the plunge.

The Blue Tits, on the other hand, are becoming much bolder. Three in the Flower Walk can now be hand fed.

A Jay looked down from the yellow ginkgo tree waiting for me to stop photographing and hold up a peanut.  

At the Lido there were more interactions from the odd couple of a Lesser Black-Backed Gull (with the lower pitched voice) and a Herring Gull.

Here is the Lesser Black-Backed Gull at the Triangle car park who is learning to hunt pigeons. He has now adopted the trick used by the original pigeon eater: lying down to make himself look as if he was resting and not hunting, so that an incautious pigeon will come within grabbing range. He has pale grey legs and a very pale bill. If he becomes more successful at hunting it will be interesting to see if these colour up from the yellow astaxanthin pigment in fresh meat.

This accounts for the very deep yellow colour of the bill and feet of the pigeon killer at the Dell restaurant, who eats at least one pigeon every day.

The young Grey Heron at the Lido landed on the line of plastic buoys and struggled to keep its balance as the buoys revolved. Not surprisingly it had to fly away. Even a Herring Gull overturns the buoys.

A patch of grass has grown in one of the wire baskets at the island, making a comfortable place for a heron to stand.

Three Cormorants at the island stood on their favourite branch. It's a dead branch, so there are no twigs of leaves to interfere with the landing of these rather clumsy birds with webbed feet unsuitable for perching. And when it doesn't have three Cormorants on it it's comfortably horizontal.

In the Italian Garden the Mute Swan couple were together, in a crowd of Black-Headed Gulls because someone was feeding them.

The widowed swan was still in the garden, but in another pool cruising up and down crossly with her wings raised.

An Egyptian Goose had a scratch among fallen leaves.


  1. She is quite aggressive for a female, isn't she? I wonder if aggressiveness was one of her selling points with her original mate. Or perhaps it was that birds of a feather flock together.

    Interesting that the new pigeon killer has finally adopted the technique of good old original pigeonn killer. That means observation and learning, right?

    The Chaffinch has only himself to blame. He ought to come to the hand like everyone else.

    1. The female swan is used to having a whole lake to herself and her mate and family, and would help him to chase off intruders, so she has plenty of precedent for being aggressive. And yesterday at least, the whole of the Long Water was still completely empty of swans although she wasn't on it.

      I suppose the second pigeon killer must have watched the first, at least from a safe distance. But they certainly didn't associate. The old gull has his territory and clears other large gulls off it.