Saturday 26 October 2013

The wire baskets near the bridge, full of small fish and of larger fish eating the small ones, have attracted a lot of birds. At first it was only the Great Crested Grebes, which have learnt how to probe through the mesh , both along the edge and from the top. Here is one in the act of grabbing a fish.

They were followed by Cormorants, larger and less good at fishing in confined spaces, but they have been catching quite a few, especially when the bigger fish -- which all seem to be perch -- stray away from the shelter of the baskets.

Now they have been joined by a third species. A Lesser Black-Backed Gull -- I think it was one of the enterprising pair that hunt pigeons -- was having a good try at being a diving bird.

And it was doing rather well: it caught three fish in two minutes as I was taking these pictures.

On the Serpentine, Lesser Black-Backs, Herring Gulls and Black-Headed Gulls were all playing with fallen leaves. They choose red or yellow leaves, just as a toddler prefers bright-coloured toys.

Both the Tawny Owls were in the lime tree where they have spent the last three days, though they were not showing very clearly.

The tree has more leaves and offers better cover than their nest tree, which is a horse chestnut and has been badly hit by the leaf miner, so that the leaves are brown and shrivelled and falling off rapidly. And the owls do need all the cover they can get, as they are often harassed by Jays, Magpies and Carrion Crows. There are also a lot of Ring-Necked Parakeets in the trees nearby, though I am not sure whether they are harassing the owls or just making their usual racket. They always sound furiously indignant, even when they are perfectly happy.

The male Little Owl was also in the same place in his chestnut tree as yesterday.

It was surprising to see him outside on a dark grey drizzly day.

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