The herring Gull radar system was working better today, and very quickly we had seven Herring Gulls, quickly followed by six Black-headed Gulls around, what looked like bare bones to me. Herring Gulls will swallow some pretty large pieces, I assume these get ground up and some useful nutrition is obtained.
I had to go to Canterbury today, so I went on the quieter roads. Along the Ancient Highway I stopped to look at the old barn opposite the Chequers. As usual there were several Stock Doves on the roof. Further back the telephone line hosted a row of Corn Buntings.
I popped into the Observatory, where I met a couple in the car park carry a bundle of feathers. This turned out to be an exhausted Jack Snipe that they'd picked up on a village road. It was still able to move around, and Ian's advice was to place it by the pond and hope it would manage to feed there, un-molested. A few years ago, I tried to get a grounded Dunlin back to health, and it was a heart-breaking attempt. After days of constant attention, feeding it small worms from the compost heap, it seemed well on the way to recovery, only for it to relapse suddenly and die. I presume that either there was a deficiency in the diet, or there was a more fundamental ailment. Either way it was a failure. On the whole I think that it is better for the bird to take its chance in the wild.
At Grove Ferry there was a small covering of snow and all the open water was frozen over. I did hear a couple of Bearded Tits, pinging in the reeds, and a squeal of a Water Rail, but in the limited time I had there were few birds to be seem.
This Reed Bunting was feeding along the edge of the path, and seemed to be much more confiding that in milder conditions.
A young Blackbird was gobbling up Hawthorn berries and it was so intent on the job in hand that it almost allowed me to be within the focusing distance of my lens!