Monday, 26 November 2012

Time for the monthly bird count again. Two very low totals. The number of Feral Pigeons is less than half the normal population; I think that most of them were in the Winter Wonderland enclosure scavenging shamefully overpriced snacks. And there were only four Cormorants, all on the Long Water, compared to 40 last month. The number of Great Crested Grebes is down to 10 adults, from 16 last month. This confirms my belief that the Cormorants have eaten almost all the medium-sized fish.

Again today, there was a Little Grebe under the willow tree near the bridge.

I don't think the expansion of their fishing grounds has anything to do with the Cormorants. The small fish that Little Grebes eat would not interest Cormorants. I think they are just exploring.

The pair of Egyptian Geese are still roving around the dead trees in Kensington Gardens. Here one of them strikes a heroic pose on top of the tree where Treecreepers nested earlier this year.

It is not at all a suitable tree for the nest of a larger bird, as it has been cut down almost to a bare trunk, and the top is too narrow to build on. But the Egyptians' nest-seeking behaviour is not very well directed. I wonder what kind of trees they use for nests in their native North Africa.

The female Tawny Owl was in her usual place on the side of the nest tree. Paul reports that he saw a Little Owl in one of the usual sweet chestnut trees on Saturday, and this time it stayed in place long enough for him to take some photographs. Perhaps the Little Owls are calming down after the fright they had when children threw stones at them.

The dark wet weather had kept most people out of the park, and there was only one person feeding the geese and swans on the Serpentine. So there was a wild rush from all over the lake to get what was offered. As usual, the Black-Headed Gulls were getting a lot of it. Their technique of hovering and seizing the food in midair is highly effective. Here three of them have caught pieces of brown bread, while the other birds have got nothing.

A Grey Heron huddles up in the drizzle on a willow branch.

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