Friday 6 December 2013

Today I went round the park with a group of film students making a documentary. I was hoping, as one does, that all kinds of fabulous birds would come out to be filmed. But actually we had a very ordinary selection.

A first visit to the Tawny Owls' tree produced none at all, for the first time in twenty days. Nor was the Little Owl in his tree, despite the sunshine which often brings him out. There were a couple of migrant Blackbirds in the yew tree between Peter Pan and the Italian Garden, but they stayed inside the tree and wouldn't come out. There were no thrushes at all. However, I was visited by the Blue Tit who is often in that tree and comes out to be fed.

The Ring-Necked Parakeets, bribed with peanuts, put on a bit of a show. They are reluctant to fly to your hand if they can climb down a twig to reach it. This female has climbed down too far and a leaf stem has come off in her foot, so that she has to grasp the twig with her beak to avoid falling.

The Little Grebe appeared briefly on the far side of the Long Water, too distant for even their long lens. In the Italian Garden, one of the young Moorhens hatched in the pond was there, still in teenage brown feathers but just beginning to have a tinge of adult red in its beak.

There were a few Shovellers looking reliably decorative.

We went to Buck Hill to see the Starlings making their lightning forays into the rowan trees, but the birds disobligingly kept going into the far side of the trees from where we were, and no satisfactory shots resulted. Starlings are not shy birds, but four people disturb them more than one familiar visitor.

On the Serpentine, three young Mute Swans had come over to be fed. They were followed by a bad-tempered male adult, who cruised in with wings raised in threat and repeatedly chased them away.

And finally, when we went back to the Tawny Owls' nest tree, there was the male sitting in his usual place. So the day was saved.

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