Monday 30 December 2013

Gulls are creatures of habit. This Black-Headed Gull is from Poland, where it was ringed as a juvenile in Kampinos National Park near Warsaw on 14 June 2012.

It came to Kensington Gardens last winter on 6 and 7 November 2012, in tweedy first-year plumage, and was seen here again on 25 January 2013. Now it has returned to the same spot for a second year. It is in adult plumage but the marmalade colour of its feet shows that it is still quite young.

As you can see, the plastic ring on its right leg reads T4UN; Polish plastic rings on these gulls have codes beginning with T. The number on its metal ring reads P184.318, and its origin is given as Gdansk, Poland -- all Polish rings say Gdansk, wherever the bird was ringed.

Black-Headed Gulls can live for 30 years and more, so this bird may be coming here again for decades.

The reliable male Tawny Owl was also in his usual place on the balcony. He hasn't missed a day for weeks, and he and his mate have been nesting in the same tree for at least 11 years. His feathers are blowing about in the strong gusty wind.

I couldn't find the female owl, though I looked around the nearby trees. She is probably back on her nest. The fact that she was outside yesterday indicates that she hasn't laid any eggs yet.

A Coal Tit surprised me on the east side of the Long Water by coming to my hand for food when I was feeding some of the more confident Great and Blue Tits.

Maybe it was originally from the leaf yard, where the Coal Tits know us, and had been flying around with a flock of Long-Tailed Tits, as often happens in winter.

Nearby on Buck Hill, a family of Carrion Crows were brawling over a peanut.

I had fed them all, but they enjoy a fight.

A solitary male Pochard on the Serpentine was looking rather fine in the low afternoon sunlight.

All the other Pochards were on the other side of the bridge, as I know because I was doing my monthly bird count.

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