Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Images from home and upstream at Hurst Park

One of the few male mandarin ducks in full plumage

Most of the male Mandarin ducks are now looking very sorry for themselves. Their former glory has all but deserted them and some look as if they have the avian equivalent of chicken pox, with speckled faces where previously there were fine chestnut whiskers and a magnificent crest.

This greater spotted wookpecker has its favourite feeders and always gives a short sharp warning call just before it swoops down into the garden

A male tufted duck

Most of the tufted ducks are now quite used to us and come to feed by our front door. One or two of them have developed the habit of flying towards me and then swerving away when I throw out a scoop of wheat or seed. There was a time when they wouldn't come near the house but I've even had a couple of them fly onto the deck, which is most unusual.

Three orphan ducklings snuggle up together on Duck Ait

These three have either been abandoned or their mother is dead. We see them most evenings when we pass Duck Ait on our boat. I'm glad to see that they seem to be surviving on their own.

A kid having fun swinging from one of the trees at Hurst Park

When we were out the other evening we watched a group of youngsters having a wonderful time using a trapeze on ropes to swing from a tree into the shallow water. How nice to see kids having fun without some politically correct individual dampening their enthusiasm!

A jay with peanuts on its mind

Just the one?

This jay is almost fearless. It must be feeding youngsters because it sometimes crams as many as nine or ten peanuts into its beak/throat. The other day we were watching one of a pair of jays grab at least seven peanuts from the bird table. As it flew off it was mugged by two magpies and dropped the nuts on my therapy room roof. It tried desperately to fend off the magpies but when a third magpie joined the fray it was forced to leave the remaining peanuts to the feathered thieves!

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