31st December 2014

Even on this last, wintry day of 2014 the Tits are getting territorial and staking claims to the bird boxes. A Robin dared to perch on this one and the Blue Tit immediately saw it off. Great Tits and Blue Tits begin long before their breeding season to try to lay claim to territories and possible nest-sites. Studies of Great Tits have revealed that they use many different songs to stake their claims. Ornithologists have a theory, they call the ‘Beau Geste’ hypothesis. Just as in the novel of that name, where the author P. C. Wren imagines a soldier propping the bodies of dead soldiers round the fort to make it look as though it was better defended than it was, they think Great Tits vary their songs from different corners of the territory to look as though it is better defended than it really is! I also include a recent shot by Lynn, my chief spotter, of the stunning male Mandarin Duck which can be seen along some waterways in the country, including South Yorkshire- thanks to her for helping me spot things through this year of blogging. I originally aimed to do one year of blogging and then stop, but I’ve decided I will still blog next year, but not so frequently. To follow, you don’t need to do anything- just don’t expect one every day. Wishing you all good times in 2015. Conditions: A slight thaw has set in so the 5 inches or so of snow in Sheffield is slowly dripping away.

Great Tits begin staking out territories even in the heart of winter

Great Tits begin staking out territories even in the heart of winter

A Roben was using the box as a perch

A Roben was using the box as a perch

Temperature: Max 5- Min4 c.

One of 3 Blue Tits vying for the box today soon saw off the Robin

One of 3 Blue Tits vying for the box today soon saw off the Robin

A male Mandarin Duck- keep your eyes open. These highly coloured ducks are increasingly naturalising in England, including on the River Derwent.

A male Mandarin Duck- keep your eyes open. These highly coloured ducks are increasingly naturalising in England, including on the River Derwent.

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