Sunday 10 March 2013

On a nasty wintry day it was cheering to see a pair of Carrion Crows enjoying themselves, tumbling about in the updraughts caused by the freezing northeast wind gusting over the dome of the Albert Hall.

There is no doubt that crows fly for fun on windy days. One of the best places to see this is to the north of Battersea Park, where the crows divide their time between this park and the grounds of the Royal Hospital on the other side of the river, doing aerobatics and cawing with delight as they cross the windswept open water.

A search by several people for the Tawny Owl was unsuccessful, but at least the Little Owl could be heard calling in the leaf yard.

At the east end of the Serpentine, the larger of the two pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gulls had claimed another kill. Fortunately the victim was quite dead by the time this rather gruesome picture was taken.

Nearby, the two Great Crested Grebes who have been battling with Coots for the possession of a nest site were doing their best to dismantle the Coots' twiggy construction.

This does not necessarily show that they mean to reclaim the site. Grebes have a habit of pulling their inveterate enemies' nests to pieces, and I have seen one swim under water to a Coot's nest and pull twigs out of the bottom while the Coot was actually sitting on it.

A Wren was hopping around unobtrusively on one of the ornamental rockeries in the Dell, blending nicely into the background of weathered stone.

The Diana fountain enclosure had a fair number of Sunday visitors, the humans sharing the space with 50-odd Egyptian Geese, 16 Wood Pigeons and a pair of Pied Wagtails, all the species getting on with their business without taking the least notice of each other. Pied Wagtails allow people to get within a few feet of them as long as the people seem to be otherwise engaged. But turn and look at the wary little bird and it is off in a flash.

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