Thursday 18 October 2012

Three Jackdaws were reported by reliable observers between the Tawny Owls' tree and the Bayswater Road, being harassed by Carrion Crows. I went around the area but couldn't find them. They are rare visitors to the park, and I have only seen one anywhere near, on scaffolding in a street to the north of Kensington Gardens. However, Richmond Park has huge numbers of them, to the virtual exclusion of crows; they perch on the deer and eat their parasites.

While I was looking I did find a flock of about 20 Goldfinches in a tree. These are not common in the park either, and there are more in the neighbouring streets than in the park.

The male Tawny Owl called several times when I was in this area. He could be seen in his currently favoured lime tree. A Little Owl was also calling from a sweet chestnut tree just to the west of the one the pair nested in. It was invisible as usual.

The Egyptian Geese at the Round Pond have lost another three of their young, which are now down to six. The parents were not guarding them, but negligently grazing some distance away. A man told me that he had seen a crow killing and eating one of the young birds.

There is an unusually large number of Carrion Crows with white feathers at the Round Pond. It is quite usual for crows to have the occasional grey or white feather, but some of the birds I saw had much more white plumage than that.

When people throw bread to the waterfowl at the edge of the Serpentine there is a huge feeding frenzy, especially after the Black-Headed Gulls have returned for the winter. The Mute Swans and their cygnets are the bosses here, beating up ducks, geese and each other, while gulls of various sizes leap into the scrum for a hasty grab.

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