Sunday, 6 January 2013
It was the turn of the male Tawny Owl to come into view on the beech tree for a full-length picture. He wouldn't open his eyes, unlike his much more alert mate, but here he is in all his sleepy glory.
His mate was in her usual place on the horse chestnut tree, staring down with her unfathomable black eyes.
The mysterious hybrid duck appeared again on the Long Water.
She is very much the same shape and size as a Pochard, with the same narrow-topped, round-backed head, and has almost the same colours as a female Tufted Duck, except that her back is a bit greyer than that of a typical Tufted Duck, tending towards the ashy colour of a female Pochard. The white 'saddle' across her face, which caused her to be mistaken for a Scaup, is also sometimes seen in Tufted Ducks -- see my blog post for Thursday 3 January for an example.
One of the Great Black-Backed Gulls was on the Serpentine.
Here it is drinking. Most birds, including gulls, drink by taking a beakful of water and tossing their head back to swallow it. They can't suck water up because their bills are open at the sides. The only birds that can drink by putting their beaks down into water and lapping it up are pigeons and doves. Presumably they manage to go this by some clever work with their tongues.
Here is one of the four surviving young Egyptian Geese at the Round Pond beginning to settle down for the night.
Its raised wings frame its head in a way that gives it a curious air of a state portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, with her sharp little beady-eyed face surrounded by an enormous frilly ruff.