Thursday, 20 March 2014

There was no sign of any of the owls today. A search of the places where Tawny owlets have been seen in previous years didn't turn up any sign of them. Of course, looking at places where birds were, and not finding them, is an all too familiar task.

 One finding from this search was that there are more Stock Doves, over a wider area of Kensington Gardens, than I had supposed. It is, of course, very easy to mistake them for Feral Pigeons if you aren't looking closely. This is one of a pair investigating a nest hole in an old chestnut tree near the leaf yard.

Another pair have been hanging around the hole in the tree where the Little Owls were seen recently. It seems that they may have won the battle for this desirable nest site.

The birds' drinking fountain near the Tawnies' tree had a crow on it today. This natural cup in the tree mysteriously refuses to dry up, although there has been no rain for a week apart from a brief drizzle yesterday.

Male Blackcaps have been singing around the Long Water. I briefly saw a female in the wooded area on the east shore of the Long Water. These birds are even harder to photograph than Goldcrests and Long-Tailed Tits; all are small and restless, but Blackcaps are also very shy. So you will have to make do with a picture of one of the Long-Tailed Tits in this place.

To follow yesterday's picture of a Coot eating a tomato, here is one on the Serpentine eating a slice of pizza with great enthusiasm. Not only was the food its favourite colour, but it was also full of fat, just what a bird needs to keep its fierce metabolism going.

Another Coot has built a nest between two of the wire baskets that surround the Serpentine island. The space is so small that the bird is having difficulty turning round. But it will also be fairly safe from marauding gulls.

Here are three diving ducks resting on the island: from front to back a Tufted Duck, a Pochard, and a Red-Crested Pochard -- all drakes. From this angle there is some resemblance between the two pochards, which are not closely related. But when they are awake, the bright pink bill of the Red Crested Pochard is unmistakable.

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