Thursday 12 January 2023

A few phrases from a Song Thrush

On a mild grey drizzly day, a Song Thrush in the Flower Walk tried a few tentative phrases. Thrushes like rain, as it brings up worms.

The Chaffinch in the Flower Walk perched in the corkscrew hazel and flew out to catch thrown pine nuts in the air. In this shot his mate is out of focus in the background.

Today I could walk farther, and as soon as I got out of the Flower Walk the Carrion Crows spotted me and clustered around demanding peanuts.

I just made it to the Italian Garden, where the Little Grebe and the Gadwalls are now so firmly together that when the grebe strays away in the direction of the basket of plants, the ducks follow it. As you know from earlier, the disturbance caused by each brings up food for the other. A pair of Mallards have also been trying to get into the act, but they weren't here today.

The Great Crested Grebes are now back in full breeding plumage. Ahmet Amerikali photographed this unusually dark one. I think they darken with age.

The new dominant pair of Mute Swans were at the Vista looking for a chance of food before going off to chase away some swans that had intruded on to their territory.

A Pochard drake came over too. They never get as confident as Mallards, but food is food. However, I don't feed the waterfowl, so they were all disappointed.

Joan Chatterley saw a very odd goose in Exeter. It was with some white domestic geese and West of England geese which had escaped and gone feral. West of England Geese are a domesticated strain of Greylags with white patches and, usually, blue eyes. They are valued by goose farmers because the male and female goslings have distinctive colours from the moment they hatch. I don't know whether this is just an odd speckled West of England or a hybrid of some kind.

Mike Meilack photographed a fox coming out of a bramble patch up the hill from the Henry Moore sculpture.

Cyclamen is flowering on the edges of the paths. Thanks to Mario for this picture.

Soon the remains of the Wasteland will have been cleared away and there will be Redwings and other thrushes on the devastated ground. I hope my increasing walking range will allow me to get there in time. One year, in the days before the returfing operation got so quick and efficient, a very early Wheatear turned up here. This picture, however, is of a different one, sent in by an anonymous contributor.

Please keep the pictures coming, dear readers. I'm by no means up to speed yet.


  1. Glad you are on the mend Ralph.

  2. What a lovely bird, the Wheatear.
    How did you find your walk today? I hope you were not pushing through pain too much.

    1. I did about 5 km carrying only the small camera. Maybe it was too much, as I am quite stiff now. But one does have to push a little or slide into decline.

  3. Great to have you out and about again and extending your walks. Good luck with the recovery.