Saturday 30 March 2013

A quiet and sadly owl-less Saturday. A Great Crested Grebe was taking it easy.

You can see the little fringe of ripples around the bird's waterline where the well-oiled waterproof feathers refuse to be wetted.

There were a lot of Pied Wagtails all along the southern side of the Serpentine: some at the water's edge, others running around on the grass, and two on the white plastic buoys that mark the boundary of the Lido swimming area.

There are no insects on these buoys, but they are a convenient station for darting out to grab a passing gnat.

During a brief sunny spell one of the Dunnocks at the Lido came out of the bushes and perched on the railings, giving a fine view of this modest little bird.

On the bank near the Italian Garden, a Song Thrush was effortlessly blending into the scenery.

The picture shows the effect of counter-colouring -- being paler on the underside than the top. This reverses the effects of light and shade, so that you don't see the shape of the bird. Add some spots to further disrupt the outline, and it becomes virtually invisible.

I went up the Edgware Road to see if there were any Peregrines on the Hilton Hotel tower. One was high up on the usual ledge, too distant for anything but the fuzziest of photographs. Then into Church Street market, where the proprietor of the fish stall has made pets of a couple of Herring Gulls. They sit on the fabric roof of the stall and he throws them occasional scraps. They are probably from the nearby tribe of Herring Gulls that hang around Paddington Station. These are permanent residents, and breed in the locality.

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