Author: hazelbrowniannisbet

Titting about

There were dozens of Blue Tits and Great Tits bopping about in Stover Park.

The Blue Tits were coming up so close (within touching distance) I’m sure they would have fed out of my hand if I’d had any seed.

Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet


Mandarin Ducks take a bow

Three pairs of mandarin ducks were up at Stover Park yesterday.

Not as ‘wild’ as they would be seen furtively flicking around Hembury Woods next to the Dart river. Here in Stover they seemed in a semi-captive state (although they’re not obviously, because they can take off to wherever they want)

Mandarins do a lot of what looks like ceremonial head bowing. You can tell they’re a non native foreign bird.

The male mandarin is one of the best dressed ducks imaginable. The immaculate tailoring that has gone into his suit is resplendent, exquisite.

Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet

Sparrows are Us

Sparrows cheeky Feb 2019 edit

Around twenty sparrows have taken up residence in my garden. A small urban back garden.

They descend onto a young willow tree where I hang feeders filled with fatballs, which they love!

They bathe in the pond, drink from a little birdbath, whilst other members of this large family chase each other all around the garden which they share with a blackbird, a couple of dunnocks, a beautiful rusty wren and two blackcaps.

Late afternoon, when the light goes, they scoot up into the ivy-clad wall of an old barn to rest.

By morning they are back again, much refreshed and busily chattering and cheeping as loud as can be!

Words & Illustration : Hazel Brown

Black-headed Gulls feeding in the overflow

About 60 or 70 blackheaded gulls were flocking around the overflow pipe coming out from under Morrisons in Totnes yesterday.


These gulls heads will turn properly black (or chocolaty) in the summer.

The bigger bulkier herring gulls tried to mimic what the blackheaded gulls were doing but weren’t light enough to skim flightily over the effluent flooding out.

So it was a clear win for the blackheaded gulls.

For once the usually bossy herring gulls were relegated to 2nd best in the pecking (and picking) order.

Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet