Sunday, 2 November 2014

This Black-Headed Gull on a post at the Vista is a visitor from Norway.

The first letter on its plastic ring, J0TR, indicates the country in which it was ringed. Its metal ring reads STAVANGER MUSEUM K 03111. The bird has been seen and photographed in Kensington Gardens before, on 27 October 2013, when it was still in tweedy first-year plumage. You can see from its rather pale orange-red legs that it is still quite young. In future years they will turn deep red.

Other winter visitors include some Mistle Thrushes. They are already behaving as if they owned the place. This one, in the rowan trees on Buck Hill, was with a party that had chased some Blackbirds out of the tree ...

... and this one, on a tree near the Albert Memorial, was rattling menacingly at one of the resident pair of Song Thrushes.

More visitors: there were nine Red Crested Pochards in the swimming area at the Lido. This one had dived to haul up some algae. They are vegetarians, unlike ...

... Tufted Ducks, which eat insects, molluscs and other small creatures as well as plants. This drake was looking particularly smart in his brand new breeding plumage.

The male Little Owl was shifting around restlessly. He moved between branches in the chestnut tree next to the nest tree, then flew into the nest tree, and finally disappeared into the nest entrance.

The male Tawny Owl was sitting quietly in the beech tree next to his nest tree. This is quite a well sheltered place, and he had not been spotted by any Jays or Magpies and could enjoy his daytime rest.

His mate should appear quite soon.


  1. I believe I saw your blackheaded gull with the Norway ring on the other day perched on the fallen tree in the water on my way to Peter Pan. I of course with my small camera could not zoom in on the ring BUT at Little Venice Pool last week on a moored boat there were at least two blackheaded gulls with white rings on. I did not have my camera with me but I presume they may also be from Norway? The route from Ken.Gardens to Little Venice is quite a straight run. I am always amazed that you can read the ring numbers. MARIE

  2. Many countries use white plastic rings. The gulls could have been Dutch or Polish, for example. These large plastic rings are easy to read with the naked eye, which is the whole point of them. I read metal rings by taking zoomed photographs, trying to walk round the gull to get the whole number before it flies off, which is not always possible.