Sunday 17 November 2013

The reliable Tawny Owls were sitting side by side on their usual branch in the beech tree. The male looked back over the top of the branch.

He is browner than his greyish mate, and the dark vertical stripe down his face above his beak is wider. He is also, as is usual with owls, smaller than her, though that is hard to see unless they are seen side by side facing the same way.

No sign of a Little Owl today, and it was easy to understand why they should have wanted to stay inside their hollow tree on a chilly grey morning.

The fallen leaves are providing a fine foraging ground for birds. Here a Jay methodically turns them over in the hope of finding a worm.

And here is a Blackbird with exactly the same idea.

But a Blackbird's foraging technique is different: it hops about and rushes at the leaves and whips them away, evidently trying to capture some fast moving insect before it can run for cover.

A Great Crested Grebe was also exploring the leaves under water, looking for aquatic creatures that had sought cover among them.

This picture was taken from the parapet of the imitation bridge over the earth dam that seals off the east end of the Serpentine, where the water is only a couple of feet deep.

In the same place, the blonde Egyptian Goose hatched this year was also cruising around, looking very decorative against the autumnal background but not actually exploring the leaves.

There are, unusually, a lot of geese on Buck Hill, mostly Greylags. The long grass, which was mown a couple of months ago, has grown up again fresh and lush, and very much to a goose's taste, and there are fewer dogs than in many places in the park.

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