Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Another fruitless search for the Red-Breasted Flycatcher. Roy Sanderson came up from Sussex in the hope of finding it, and we wandered around the area without seeing or hearing anything. It may well have moved on. The fleeting glimpses on Sunday and Monday are, sadly, not enough to claim it as a definite sighting, so it can't be added to the list of 194 species seen in the park given in the right column here. Well, you can't expect birds to turn up to order.

On a showery day, there was nothing unusual to be seen. The familiar families were in their places and, at the Vista where people were feeding the waterfowl, there were seven Mute Swan cygnets being circled warily by two broods of Mallard ducklings, and a few young Coots and Moorhens, all accompanied by their parents. For the smaller birds, getting too close to a swan can be dangerous. But there are also squabbles among families of the same species: here some Mallard ducklings are chased away by the mother of another brood.

On the Serpentine, an almost fully grown young Moorhen made an appearance from somewhere. You can never quite tell what is going on with these modest and secretive birds.

Andrew Williamson sent me this fine picture of a Black-Headed Gull screaming in derision at something, as they do.

On the original large photograph, you can read the near side of its ring.

The top row, too small to see here, is the ringer's address. The middle row has three letters: [illegible], N?, W. The bottom row has four digits of a number; since it begins at the join in the ring, visible on the right, it is 9????636. I showed this information to Roy, who said that it reveals enough to show that the bird was not ringed in Britain. English rings have markings starting with E and another letter; it started with EA and is now up to EY.

If you manage to see a ring number, especially on a gull and especially if you can read all or most of it, Roy would be most interested and may be able to tell you where the ring is from. Just put a comment on this blog.

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