Thursday, 23 May 2013
There is one young Robin in the leaf yard. No doubt it will be followed by more, as there are several families here.
Juvenile Robins are naively confident birds, and will come and take food from your hand, trusting the enormous creature holding it out. Adults are much warier, and usually have to know you, and see you feeding other birds, before they will venture down.
Here, in a dramatic photograph taken by Andy Sunters, is an adult Robin taking off.
You wouldn't think that its spindly little legs would deliver much of a jump, but they seem to be adequate for the purpose. However, when a Great Tit pushes off with its much stronger legs, you do feel considerably more force.
The pair of Nuthatches came down to take food from the fence. They too have become quite confident, and have abandoned their usual habit of rushing round to the back of the tree branch when you look at them. I still can't get either of them to come to my hand, though. Here is one of them in the characteristic head-down posture, having just caught a fly. It flew off still holding its prey, which suggests that the pair have a nest with young.
Nuthatches tend to move down trees when hunting insects, and Treecreepers almost always move up. But both have that amazing ability to walk along the underside of a horizontal branch, holding on with their sharp hooked claws.
Here a Tufted Duck comes down on the Serpentine, creating a surprisingly large splash.
Diving ducks, which have their legs set farther back than dabbling ducks like a Mallard, are less good at water skiing on their webbed feet when landing, and hit the water harder. But their descents are a model of control compared to those of Great Crested Grebes, which fly until their toes brush the water, and then fold their wings and crash in, raising clouds of spray. Little Grebes sometimes stop flying at an altitude of 3 ft, and plunge in head first.
Still plenty of Swifts to see whizzing across the surface of the lake.