Sunday 23 December 2012

A mild day, and nothing out of the ordinary to see. The Little Owls were calling to each other in the leaf yard but didn't come into view. The Tawny Owls were in their accustomed places on the nest tree. The number of Cormorants, which had fallen to one or two on most days, has now increased again, for no clear reason, and generally you can see half a dozen.

Several pairs of Coots, having nothing better to do on a winter day, were fighting. This excellent picture by Alan Clubb shows the style of their bouts. Both birds lean back in the water, supported by wings stretched out behind them, and kick each other with their strong feet.

The fringes on their toes stop them from sinking into mud, acting like snowshoes. The smaller members of the rail family, such as Moorhens and Water Rails, are lighter and don't need this adaptation.

I came home down the Broad Walk at dusk, when most people had left and it was quiet. One of the things you notice at these times is the extremely large number of Robins singing.

It sounds as if there was a Robin territory every 50 yards in all directions wherever there bushes for them to sit on. The five-year autumn count in Kensington Gardens in November 2010 found 42 territories, but I am sure that the current number is well into three figures. Numbers are certainly increasing. The 2010 count was was more than 50 per cent greater than that of 2005, and was the highest count since the series of five-year counts began in 1925.

A Carrion Crow was amusing itself by swinging around on the weather vane of the Serpentine Gallery.

And in the Italian Gardens, one of the keystones of the loggia looked thoroughly depressed by having a Feral Pigeon sitting on it.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ralph
    I stayed late again today so Daniel could see the tawny owl in flight only this time it was the female who gave us the show , she headed off over the leaf garden towards the lake .
    Didn't see or hear any little owls today
    It was 4.30pm when the owls took flight so no chance of any pictures then we had to climb the fence to get out of he park as the gates had been locked
    We are away for new year so hopefully see you when I return to work in january