Wednesday 6 November 2013

The female Tawny Owl was sitting out in the rain in her usual place in the beech tree, looking perfectly dry and comfortable. She was facing away from me, and the grey rain-streaked picture I took is not worth publishing.

The male Little Owl was out too, rather surprisingly for a bird more at home in a warm climate. He had found a perch were a thick main branch of the chestnut tree sheltered him from the rain.

For some reason, on dull days their fine yellow eyes show up more clearly.

A Starling on the balustrade of the Italian Garden was also looking very fine despite the poor light. The rich and intricate pattern of their plumage is alway amazing, and people who think of them as drab scavengers are missing a lot.

It  had flown there after eating berries in a yew bush -- the red flesh of the berries is not poisonous, though the rest of the plant is, including the seeds, which pass quickly through the bird's digestive system and don't harm it. But where are all the thrushes that should be eating the berries on yews and rowans? I saw just one Mistle Thrush today, probably one of the park residents. There ought to be plenty of winter migrant thrushes by now, but they haven't come into central London yet.

One of the young Great Crested Grebes at the bridge had been fishing, and had come up with nothing but a piece of rubbish.

After inspecting its find, it threw it away and went back to pestering its parents.

The young Mute Swans can often be seen flying up and down the lake. They fly more often than adults, clearly needing practice before they are stable. Here one struggles to get its large body airborne.

On the shore of the Serpentine, a Lesser Black-Backed Gull was shooing a Carrion Crow away from a few scraps of food.

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