Another cold night with a frost this morning. As usual the Blue Tits were the first in the garden taking an opportunity to feed on the apples that were still stuck on the branches. As it became light the Long-tailed Tits came through. There was a flock of 12 birds, and they moved from the feeders in the trees, to the ground feeder and off by the fat block.
One bird showed some interesting behaviour after taking a seed from the feeder. The sequence is shown in the photograph below. Hanging by one leg from the branch it held the seed in its foot like a parrot. It then transferred from its foot to the bill, then still hanging it dropped the seed. I have watched them hanging from branches before, but not holding seeds like this. I love the look of it as it realises its dropped the seed.
The Pied Wagtail turned up next, and just sat on the roof of the house opposite. It sat there in the early morning sunshine with an orange glow on its breast
Coal Tits are extremely mobile as they come to the feeders, and this makes them very difficult to photograph. They have a "smash and grab" approach, in through the tree to the feeder and off. This one was a little more cautious waiting as it made its way to the feeder, and it allowed me to get a decent photograph.
At mid day I drove up to the pond, the intention was to go into Old Down and pick up the latest output from the camera trap. As I was putting on my boots a moorhen flapped across the pond in alarm. As it disappeared into the small reed bed, a Grey Heron lifted out and up over the pond. I hadn't seen it which was a shame as I would have liked the opportunity to photograph it on the pond. It was though nice to think the pond can attract true water birds.
I picked up the SD card from the camera, and repositioned it somewhere new. There was more clips of the Tawny Owl, again moving around in the leaf litter, and squirrels and Roe Deer. This clip is interesting, if you turn up the sound you can hear movement in the leaves, but keep concentrating on the clip
Moving back to the path, the blackbirds started to create, calling out in alarm, I wasn't sure if this was for my benefit, or something else was upsetting them. Once the blackbirds started, the tits were calling out, and were quickly the nuthatches joined in. I could also hear Crossbills above me, their chipping calls standing out. I searched the tree tops and found two females types feeding on the larch cones.
I walked around the path back to the cross roads and back towards Old Down cottage The mud is not so deep, and the recent dry weather has helped make walking a little easier. At the larch trees there was a group of Long-tailed Tits, and in attempt to get them closer I started to "pish" This brought in Great and Coal Tits, as well as this inquisitive Robin.
The only finches I saw were Goldfinches in the larch trees, I could hear Siskin, but I couldn't find them. The finch numbers have been very low considering the large mixed flocks of Siskin, Redpoll and Goldfinch that were about at the beginning of the year. This maybe as a result of the failed beech mast.
Back at the pond, a Moorhen swam under the jetty, and then three more appeared out of the reeds, and then scurried away into the laurel bushes.
I walked around the pond, kicking the reeds and longer grass. My thinking was that if a bird the size of a Heron can hide from me then just maybe there could be a woodcock, or jack snipe hiding there too. Needless to say there wasn't anything! Time is now running out to find some new birds.