Goldfinch flock singing (two bulkier Greenfinches are amongst them)
Monday, 21 December 2015
Sunday, 13 December 2015
Thursday, 3 December 2015
In sunny winter days, Song Thrushes will start singing, maybe more towards January.
Wren in full song in October
Collared dove singing a couple of days ago.
Starling singing yesterdayToday I heard two bird species singing, however, which I've never heard singing at this time of year. This morning I heard distant fluting phrases that sounded like a Mistle Thrush. I went to investigate and there it was, a Mistle Thrust atop a tree, singing contentedly.
Blackbirds, normally will sub-sing in the winter. This is an eery, very quiet song, that usually subadult individuals carry out, as if 'practising' singing, well hidden in bushes. But as I was leaving work today, as it happened last week, I heard the surreal full song of a blackbird, its beautiful notes raising over the cacophony of the Carrion Crow roost at campus, and transporting me into spring. I had to check this out. There it was a full adult male Blackbird was singing from a wall. Given that it was quite dark at 16:15, the photo on top was the best I could manage without using the flash, but I recorded a short video of it. A very very unusual thing to happen in early December. I wonder if the unseasonally mild weather we are having is confusing this normally spring songster.
Tuesday, 9 June 2015
Wednesday, 20 May 2015
busy parent with head down and watchful young.
Probing, tasting, leaves
Young starlings have a heron-like look to them
its a big bad world out there
Tuesday, 19 May 2015
...and the harassed drake eventually flew off!
I do wonder if the many non reproductive pairs and trios that are now found away from water around the verges of the avenues and even on campus, where there is no pond, are actually seeking some peace and quiet from all this pond sexual excitement.
More informationMoeliker, C. W. The first case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard Anas platyrhynchos (Aves: Anatidae). Deinsea 8 (2001): 243-247. here.
Wednesday, 13 May 2015
The pair watching intently. Their tails are touching and slightly fanned and their belly feathers are also a bit ruffled.
The start of a caw.
The end of a caw.
The intruded came closer and both birds called noisily and gave it chase.
Carrion Crows pair for life, which is often not that long (average 4 years, with a maximum recorded age of 9) and the pair remains together all year round. Only territory holders breed, with one year old birds and non-territory holders often moving in a flock and intruding in territories in search of food, leading to squirmishes with the territory holders, in which both members of the pair participate.
Coombs, Franklin (1978) The Crows. B.T. Batsford Ltd, London. 255 pp.
Friday, 8 May 2015
Jeffrey M. Black and James H. Barrow, Jr. (1985) Visual signalling in Canada geese for the coordination of family units. Wildfowl, 36, 35-41. Available here.
And catching what it looks like a ground beetle larvae.
for the first time, I have only seen one adult with them. The adult apparently decided to build another nest by the island, as the chicks couldn't return to the tree nest. It left the chicks on their own for periods of frantic nest building. The nest is now pretty much done and attracting much attention from the new pair of coots in the park (previous post). I've never seen the chicks on the nest. The number of chicks went from three to two on the 1st of May, but the two left are growing.
One of the chicks had a good look at me.
The young rush to meet their parent for some food.
Thursday, 7 May 2015
Shortly after, the Coot was chased away by the Moorhen, the nest owner.
One of the coots calls the other with a trumpet-like call.
This morning, both coots were near each other. One of them picked a piece of stem and carried it to a clump of vehetation on the shore and rearranged it using her feet and bill. Then, the other coot approached and gave it chase closely, with the first coot swimming to the shore, standing and adopting the curious position of a receptive female, head curled down under her chest. The male then clumsily climbed on top, although he fell down before completing the copulation. I get the impression these are first time breeders, and the breeding instinct is just kicking in. The following are a couple of shots of coot mating pairs taken in another local park where coots are plentiful, illustrating the female position. They often mate on or near the nest. When they are on the water, the female actually submerges her head.
Saturday, 25 April 2015
This is a photo from 13/03/2015, when nest building was in its early stages.
Tuesday, 21 April 2015
The female Sparrowhawk is an impressive raptor compared to the almost cute, much smaller, male. She is as large as a Woodpigeon, with broad chest and piercing yellow eyes. She can actually bring down Woodpigeons. Although the thrushes appeared fearless, they always stayed over the hawk, not underneath. The hawk moved onto an ash tree nearby, and although higher up, there were fewer leaves in the way, and after some trying I found a clear line of view and managed to take some photos and a video of the 'missile' thrushes dive bombing her. This behaviour, known as 'mobbing' involves potential prey individuals harassing or sometimes actually attacking predators when they are encountered. Mobbing is at its most intense during the breeding season. It is a behaviour that is not completely understood. One explanation, the 'move-along' hypothesis, is that mobbing diverts the predator attention from places where there are nests or young. When the Sparrowhawk's young hatches, they will be fed almost exclusively on fledglings, so harassing the predators might encourage them to move on, and hunt somewhere else.
Mistle thrush with worms in bill (14/4/2015)
Saturday, 18 April 2015
After a while the parent brooded them on the ground, a bit restless trying to get itself comfortable. The following time I saw them, the adult was trying to arrange some nesting material on a branch by the water, maybe not happy with brooding the chicks on the ground? There were a number of large gulls about, and with just one parent around, I wonder what the future of these chicks holds.
Parent finding food.
Tuesday, 7 April 2015
One of the coots being chased away by the resident Moorhen (with its nest in the island tree).
Coot about to dive
This is the third coot, note its very large frontal shield, protruding from the top of the head and stained pink. The two individuals at the top of the post have much smaller shields.