Monday, 13 January 2014

Pride of place today goes to two pictures by Paul Turner, who found two kinds of woodpeckers while going past the leaf yard to visit the Tawny Owls' tree. This is a Great Spotted Woodpecker in the leaf yard.

And here is the Green Woodpecker that habitually forages on the open grass of the Vista, which it was doing when he found it. It flew into a tree and, instead of going round to the far side of the trunk as usual, stayed in sight long enough for a good shot.

The male Tawny Owl was in his usual place on the balcony, taking no notice of two photographers bustling around under him to try to find a good angle.

When we visit this tree, two Great Tits and a Blue Tit come out to be fed. The Robin whose territory is around the tree has observed this and decided that visitors are trustworthy in spite of the machinery they haul around, and has started coming to people's hands to be fed.

Under the willow tree near the Italian Garden, two Great Crested Grebes were toying with the idea of building a nest -- far too early in the year, of course. Here the female waves a red-brown leaf at her mate by way of encouragement. This is not the full courtship dance with leaves, but just a hint.

Red is an exciting colour for grebes, as it is for many other birds, and most grebes' breeding plumage includes this colour. But it is not an encouragement to aggression, as it is in Robins. Grebes will fight over territory when they are in plain winter plumage, as we have recently seen at the bridge. Their liking for the colour seems to be relatively peaceful. A few years ago a pair of Great Crested Grebes on the lake collected a red plastic ball and built it into their nest. As the nest slumped into the water and was gradually built up, they were careful to move the ball to the top surface so that it remained visible.

Another bird whose plumage includes that red-brown colour is the Shoveller. Here a drake preens his fine plumage with an enormous bill.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely story about the Robin and you caught a, super, quizical pose. I managed a brief walk in K Gs on Saturday afternoon but knees played up in reaction. . .