Tuesday 16 October 2012

The Peregrines on the Metropole Hilton Hotel are not park residents, but they sometimes hunt over it when the pigeons in the Edgware Road are lying low, so they deserve a place in this blog. I went up to see them and found them missing from their usual daytime place on the hotel's tower. But as I left, one of them whizzed over me at a height of only 50 ft and landed on the police station on the north side of the flyover. That might have seemed a good chance of a photograph, since the birds are normally out of range up a 200 ft tower. But unfortunately the police station is surrounded by a series of ledges 2 ft wide, and unless a bird happens to be standing right at the outside edge, it is invisible from the street.

The best place to photograph the Peregrines would be to take the top room at the northeast corner of the main hotel block, which gives quite a good view of their usual place on the tower, though probably the windows don't open.

In the park itself it was a rather ordinary day, but the sunshine brought out the best in the birds. Here is a Starling looking magnificent in its brocade suit of feathers, standing on a notice at the Lido restaurant. It had just been scared away by a woman whose chocolate cake it wanted to share, but was not giving up just yet.

Cormorants are usually drab-looking birds, but in direct sunlight their plumage can have quite a glossy sheen.

A pair of Black-Headed Gulls were fighting over a scrap of food, screeching furiously.

Indifferent to the racket, a pair of Greylag Geese swept up the lake. When they come down on land, using their wings to the utmost to achieve a neat landing, their flight feathers make a sound like a basketwork chair creaking.

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