Monday, 22 February 2016

A couple of Carrion Crows were annoying a Grey Heron near the leaf yard, creeping up behind it and trying to pull its tail. It turned angrily on its tormentors.


Strangely, there was a similar scene on the north shore of the Serpentine, with a different heron and different crows. Word must have got out among the crows that it's Heron Persecution Day.


The Black Swan was back with girlfriend number two. She was following him about in a devoted way, and he called to her from time to time.


The female Mallard is the mate of the light-coloured drake next to her, but she is constantly bothered by other drakes. Here a fight breaks out among the suitors. The Tufted Duck in the picture always follows this group around, for no clear reason.


A female Gadwall was enjoying a flap near the island.


This Cormorant swam most of the way up the Long Water holding itself up at a peculiar angle. There were no other Cormorants around for it to impress with this display.


A pair of Egyptian Geese were making a tremendous racket on a chestnut tree near the Speke obelisk. This drove away a third Egyptian that had been trying to court the female.


Blackbirds were singing in several places in the park. They tend to start singing later than the other songbirds, and we have already heard the Mistle Thrushes and Song Thrushes. This one was in a tree near the Flower Walk.


The Little Owl in the oak tree was in the back of its hole, guarding it from a pair of Stock Doves walking around on the branch, clearly wanting to take the nest site for themselves. They have succeeded at this in past years.


The gorse blossom beside the Serpentine near the bridge attracted a Buff-Tailed Bumblebee.


Update: Sunday's post on Africa G√≥mez's very interesting blog on bird behaviour, The Rattling Crow, is about play by young gulls, something I've often described and illustrated here. Recommended reading.

8 comments:

  1. It's a brave crow to tweak the tail of a heron - but nothing seems to put off these cheeky birds, not even the imperious heron with its very sharp beak! Cathy

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    1. Crows love pulling tails. They do it to Mute Swans, squirrels, dogs, everything.

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  2. That cormorant looks weirdly seahorse-like, or maybe like a crocodile that has just lunged upwards. Jim n.L.

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    1. It was very odd to see it travelling forwards while sustaining that attitude. No idea what it was doing.

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  3. How long have the Little and Tawny owl's beenn occupying the park, because it seems as if they must be very old!

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    1. The Little Owls arrived in the spring of 2012. The current pair of Tawny Owls have been here at least since 2004, so they really are pretty old as owls go. The average lifespan of a wild Tawny Owl is only three or four years, though owls in aviaries have been known to live to over twenty.

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  4. WOW! So your (as i feel they are!) Tawny Owls are quite a lot older than average!
    Is that due to the food in the park?

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    1. Perhaps. There are lots of mice, mostly house mice and a few wood mice. But it's also a safe sheltered place, and London is always 2°C warmer than the surrounding countryside.

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