Thursday 12 December 2013

The Tawny Owls were being harassed by three Mistle Thrushes, of which this is one ...

... and half a dozen Ring-Necked Parakeets, so the whole area was resounding with rattles and squawks. They took no notice at all; owls must be inured to such things. The male owl lazily opened one eye when I rustled the fallen leaves as I approached, a much more interesting noise to a hunter of mice.

The female slept peacefully through the whole episode.

There were more Mistle Thrushes on the rowan trees on Buck Hill, though they wouldn't move into a position where I could get a picture. So here is a shot of one of the Starlings, hastily grabbing a couple of berries before flying away with the rest of the flock.

Two pairs of Great Crested Grebes were still making a great show of defiance in their territorial squabble near the bridge. The display involves frequent diving, but why not have a snack while you are down there?

I don't know whether this object is a fish looking dark under water, as ordinary silver fish do, or whether it's a crayfish. In any case it was edible, and was eaten.

A discarded plastic bottle on the Serpentine gave a Moorhen something to play with.

Moorhens are not usually thought of as birds that play. Their life is too much of a hard scrabble for that. Predators and savengers -- falcons, hawks, gulls, and for some reason Common Swifts -- are the birds that are commonly seen playing. But there is no reason why a Moorhen shouldn't have a bit of fun too.


  1. We went to see the owls just after sunset, and a single blackbird complained about them: they still sat in the same spots as in your photos, and didn't bat an eyelid. A bit later they started calling to each other, and then flew off together. My first time observing this- magic!

  2. Very glad you got a chance to see these lovely birds in action.

  3. Can you confirm which nest tree they sit in? There is one towards the North end of the park used for years and one near the flower walk used recently. Would like to see these splendid birds before Christmas.

    1. They always nest in the same tree, a horse chestnut 50 yards west of the bench at the midpoint of the path between Physical Energy and the Speke obelisk. The excursion to the Flower Walk was made after the owlets came out of the nest, for shelter in the evergreen trees in a cold spring.

    2. Thanks for this detail, Ralph. Have just seen one of the owls this morning and so good to get reasonable views in ok weather. Well worth the trip.