Wednesday 17 October 2012

The male Tawny Owl has taken up a new station in a lime tree 20 yards west of the nest tree, near the top and viewable with slight difficulty from the east side. He was there yesterday and today; both times I was there, Jays were screaming at him, of which he takes no notice. Here he sleepily quarter-opens an eye to look at the human on the ground taking so much interest him.

Nearby a Ring-Necked Parakeet was mostly hidden in a hole in a plane tree on the path between the Physical Energy statue and the Speke obelisk. There are a lot of parakeets here, taking advantage of the many holes in these trees. Mandarin ducks have also investigated the area for nest sites, but decided against it and moved somewhere more sheltered. This is in the territory of the Tawny Owls, of course, and several parakeets have found themselves on the menu.

Here a first-year male Shoveller stares suspiciously at the camera. I gave him a piece of biscuit as a modelling fee.

And here is a close-up of the red-rimmed, curiously flecked eye of the pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull, which was prowling along the edge of the lake looking for its next meal.

It is difficult not to see this pale stare as baleful, but it is only a bird doing what birds do. And there are so many pigeons in the park that the few taken by Lesser (and sometimes Great) Black-Backed Gulls and Peregrines and Sparrowhawks hardly make a dent in the population.


  1. I am so glad to hear that you are reunited with the Tawny Owl again. I do hope we can see him on Saturday.
    What lovely markings the immature Shoveler has!
    Are you suggesting that the markings on the eye of the pidgeon-eating gull are unusual, or even unique identifying features? If only we could persuade more of them to prefer pidgeons to ducklings . . .

  2. Interesting question about the gull's eye. I only noticed the dark flecks because I took a close-up picture. The largest photographs of this species I could find on the web show a more or less uniformly pale eye. Must start looking at other Lesser Black-Backs before I can answer. They have dark eyes when young which go pale later, and this one has clearly maintained some pigment, whether or not this is a normal occurrence.