Sunday 5 January 2014

Both Tawny Owls appeared today, a welcome surprise. The female owl was at the top of the hole in the nest tree ...

... and the male was on the balcony.

In previous years the top of the tree was the male's favourite spot, and the balcony the female's, but owls are allowed to change their minds. It is unusual to see the female outside at this time of year, and suggests that they will be nesting later than usual -- but still earlier than Tawny Owls do elsewhere.

A second-winter Herring Gull was diving energetically on the Serpentine.

After a while it came up with what at first looked like a crayfish, and I think the gull thought so too. But when it had brought its prize ashore, it turned out to be a hollow piece of black rubber, perhaps the tip of a crutch or pole.

After examining it, the gull threw it away and went off to find something better.

Our old friend the black and white Mallard appeared, accompanied as usual by her rather pale mate, whose back is almost white although his head is of a normal green colour and not the iridescent red-brown that often occurs in pale Mallard drakes.

Some regular park visitors were feeding the pair, and said that they called the black and white duck Bill. I had to point out that Bill was certainly a girl, since I have seen her faithfully accompanying her distinctive mate for two years. So now she is Wilhelmina.

As I was leaving the lake I saw a pair of Great Crested Grebes about to dance, and just managed to get this rather distant shot, taken through an arch of the bridge.

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