Thursday 19 December 2013

There had been no sign of the Little Owls for several days, and we were beginning to think that they had changed trees because of an incursion of squirrels. But today at sunset the male owl appeared on his usual branch, preparing to go hunting when the park closed. This picture was taken a quarter of an hour after sunset.

The male Tawny Owl was on the balcony on the nest tree, fast asleep when I took this picture, but no doubt he was also preparing for an evening's work when I left the park.

There are still a few days to go before the female settles down in her nest, so we may yet see her.

There were half a dozen Mistle Thrushes in the rowan trees on Buck Hill.

Most of the berries at the top of the trees have now been eaten. This makes it easier to get a picture, as the birds have to come down to the sides of the trees.

There are also half a dozen Red Crested Pochards at the Serpentine island. Numbers vary a lot, as they seem to fly freely around the central London parks. The males are at their finest, with enormous fluffy crests.

There is a price to pay for this splendour. Most ducks, including the Common Pochard in the background, can see straight upwards, and keep watch for hawks and falcons overhead. A Red Crested Pochard can't, as its headdress is in the way.

Just two days after the new turf was laid around the Henry Moore sculpture, the rabbits are back in force. There were seven when I went past.

Only a few more rabbits need be born (and they will be, of course) before this grass needs no mowing.

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