Friday 29 March 2013

An hour of searching over quite a wide area failed to find any owls. It is, of course, quite possible that the owlets are out in some unvisited place and we just haven't found them.

However, there were other encouraging signs of activity. This Starling -- note the pinkish base to her bill which shows that she is female -- went into a hole in one of the plane trees near the small boathouses, stayed there, and had not emerged when I went away ten minutes later. There have been pairs of Starlings hanging around the three nest holes in this tree, but this is the first time I have seen one staying inside a hole for some time.

These Ring-Necked Parakeets near the Speke obelisk in Kensington Gardens had the same idea. The female -- on the right in this picture, note the absence of a neck ring -- also retired into her nest hole, and her mate flew off.

On the shore of the Serpentine, a Wood Pigeon was perched on the railings and reaching up to eat spring blossoms.

Their diet of buds and berries involves them in a good deal of climbing around trees whose twigs are too weak to support these bulky birds, so you often see them clinging on in absurd postures to stretch for some morsel. They flap clumsily in and out of bushes with their wings flailing through the leaves, and it is remarkable that their wing feathers don't get completely shredded long before their annual replacement.

Here is a Chiffchaff at the Lido, searching for insects under the red stem of one of the sumac bushes planted here.

It is probably the same one as the bedraggled bird I photographed on 24 March in the rain while it was being chased along the edge of the lake by a Pied Wagtail, but here it is looking rather elegant in the quiet colours of a typical warbler. The Dunnock pictured yesterday was foraging in the same bush.

Although I have heard a Chiffchaff singing in Kensington Gardens, I have not heard any sound from this bird, so I think it is a solitary female.

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