Thursday 27 December 2012

The young Great Black-Backed Gull was on the edge of the Serpentine. It is a second-winter bird, just beginning to grow the first dark feathers on its back to replace its tweedy juvenile plumage. These slow-maturing birds take four years to achieve a fully adult appearance.

It investigated and discarded a horse chestnut and flew off to search for something more edible, giving a fine view of its 5 ft wingspan.

The female Tawny Owl had found a new perch on the beech tree a few feet to the west of her nest tree. She will be disapearing into her nest soon and may not be seen again until the end of February or the beginning of March.

I met Des McKenzie, writer of the predecessor of this blog and with bird recognition skills that I can never hope to equal, in Kensington Gardens. He had just seen a Woodcock, which had been frightened out of the long grass on Buck Hill by the ambulance helicopter landing there to pick up a casualty. I have only ever seen one Woodcock in the park.

There were Egyptian Geese flying all over the park in various directions. Des reckoned that there were fewer of them than a couple of days ago, when he had counted 80 in the whole park. Nevertheless, the average number of these birds in the park is increasing rapidly, by as much 50 per cent a year. When I counted the number of Canada Geese around the lake at the end of November there were only 79 of these, so the Egyptians are well on their way to outnumbering them.

A few Shovellers had ventured out from the shelter of the Serpentine island into the choppy water at the east end of the lake.

They were having difficulty shovelling up their food in the waves, and frequently upended and dabbled under the surface like Mallards.

Update: Denise Anderson visited the park to make a video of the Tawny Owls, which you can see here. They were, of course, not doing very much during the day, but the soundtrack evokes their noisy surroundings with a colony of Ring-Necked Parakeets on one side and of Carrion Crows on the other.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely love those owls! That owl's marvelous coloration blends so well into the bark of the tree, it's almost a surprise when the breeze lifts a feather or two. Wonderful bird - great pictures and video! Thank you very much!