Saturday, 22 August 2015

On a hot afternoon a Cormorant was feeling the heat, lying down and panting.

Grey Herons seem to enjoy hot sunny days. Here is one in the classic 'Space Shuttle' sunbathing pose.

This one preferred having its back to the sun. Probably both poses help in different ways to bring parasites to the surface of their feathers so that they can be shaken off.

The Great Crested Grebe chicks on the Long Water were being fed regularly by their devoted parents.

But this one had already been fed enough for the time being, and its mother got tired of its pestering and shoved it aside.

In the Italian Garden pond, one of the Moorhen chicks was extending its little wings like a tightrope walker to balance on top of the net. You can see that its flight feathers are just beginning to emerge.

A dozen Mistle Thrushes flew into the rowan trees on Buck Hill and started feeding on the berries.

They always arrive from the other side of the road, but I have never found the trees in Hyde Park where they congregate.

At the Round Pond, a couple of hundred Starlings were waiting for someone to start feeding the birds, which is a signal for them to charge across the lake as one bird.

Studies of Starlings have shown that they can fly in dense, coordinated flocks because each bird keeps its eyes on nine other birds ahead of and around it. But it is not clear how these sudden rushes start. One bird must notice the chance of food first and take off but, even allowing for Starling's lightning reflexes, why do the other birds follow it immediately? Is there a minimum number of birds that have to start flying before the others follow?

The male Little Owl was in his nest tree, preening himself.

The two owlets were seen together, but by the time I went to look for them they had moved out of sight.

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