In a departure from the usual strictly Abaco-centric blog principles that apply around here, and because a number of birding folk are tolerant enough to follow this blog regularly, I am migrating a euro-bird post from my side-project non-Abaco blog at ROLLING HARBOUR LIFE (check out the bees there!). I think this photo sequence of the evening ablutions of a small bird may be of wider interest, or amusement at the least. Also, it’s a cute little creature – some of its pale grey downy feathers are incredible soft and delicate. And anyway, what the heck – we’re in England (flood alerts!), we’ll be on Abaco in less than 4 weeks, and tomorrow is May 1st.

This preening is a complicated routine involving a great deal of busy activity, from 180° head rotation to elaborate fluffing up to pauses for admiration. I watched this bird, one of a pair, for several minutes. The photos (taken in Dorset) have been cropped but not in any way photoshopped or adapted… I’m pleased at how well they turned out, considering that I was filming from the ground 20 feet below, and the bird was moving most of the time. I’ve put  a few individual pictures up first, then a slideshow of some highlights of the performance

This was a serious feat of balance, with a very vigorous shake-down with only one foot on the wire

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