Saturday, 26 January 2013
The milder weather and the weekend have brought out crowds of photographers keen to get a picture of the famous Bearded Tits, which have now been in newspapers and on television. Fortunately these affable birds are continuing to put on a good show.
They must be aware that they are being watched, if only because, when they move to a new place, the crowd follows them. But they seem indifferent to the antics of humans, as long as these are kept firmly in place near the fence. It is a low fence and would be easy to step over, but so far I have not seen anyone do it. It would be an invasion of the birds' privacy and might even drive them away.
People also wanted to see the male Tawny Owl, but unfortunately he didn't oblige. I don't think anyone has seen him since he was in the beech tree on the 17th.
The Egyptian Geese, who believe in breeding early and often, have mostly paired off, and one pair at the Lido were even mating. Afterwards, the female stretches her ruffled wings to settle the feathers in place. Their broad white wing bars make them instantly recognisable in flight.
No doubt there will be Egyptian babies all over the place soon, as these prolific birds increase unstoppably.
The other Pochard-Tufted Duck hybrid showed up on the Serpentine. She has less white on her face than the one I photographed on 20th.
These two are almost certainly siblings; although Aythya species hybridise freely, it would be too much of a coincidence to think that this crossing had happened twice recently.
And there were two male Gadwalls at the Vista, plain-looking from a distance but fascinatingly marked when seen close up. I looked for females, but couldn't see any.