Blue Tit in garden
At certain times of the day the garden is full of blue tits and great tits making the most of the various feeding stations. They love sunflower hearts and are also keen on the food I put out for robins. In fact the robins often chase them away from 'their' feeding station. We also see a coal tit from time to time as well as the gregarious long tailed tits. We've nicknamed one of our blue tits "smudge" because his belly is mostly inky rather than yellow - far darker than the soft yellow belly of a typical blue tit.
One of the few lovely sunrises in the last couple of weeks
We haven't had many colourful sunrises recently so this was one to enjoy. I've been lucky enough to have lived in many different parts of the world and I do miss bright skies and sunny weather but I equally love England with its seasonal variations. When I lived in the Far East and parts of the Mediterranean sunrises and sunsets could be spectacular but I really missed the subtle changes in season and the sights, sounds and smells of the different seasons.
Aggression between swans
This is a grainy action image taken in low light but I hope I've captured the mood. The dominant swan isn't happy to find an intruder in his patch. Last week he attacked Bidou, the black swan, and I was able to fend him off for a while, having heard her distress calls, but the hostilities continued further upstream. She lived to tell the tale, as you'll see from her image below. I do hope she won't be drowned by him when territorial battles increase in the spring.
Bidou now visits ahead of the dominant mute swans which means that she is fed without hassle or interruption. If I haven't seen her arrive she soon lets me know of her presence by emitting a mournful call on a regular basis. At night, if I hear her call, I then have to locate her in the dark. Fortunately her red beak is something of a giveaway.
Breakfast time for a cormorant
A pair of cormorants fish here daily and aren't starving by the looks of them. I watched this one swallow more than three bite-sized fish within five minutes. Most of the water birds appear uneasy when the cormorant gets too close to them - the little grebes completely freak out. A cormorant surfaced right next to a little grebe today and the tiny bird took off with fright.
A pair of little grebes
We've had a fair amount of the wet stuff of late so the river is flowing at some speed. Whether the strength of the current affects the little grebes or not, I can't say, but I haven't seen one for a few days. I was therefore delighted to see a pair of them swimming downstream today - in spite of their size they must be sturdy swimmers!