Sunday 25 October 2015

A Little Grebe appeared on the Long Water, the first one seen here for several months.

I am not sure, but I think we have one permanently resident Little Grebe which is seldom noticed because, having no mate, it doesn't call. There are always several Little Grebes in St James's Park and Regent's Park, perhaps because the overhanging bushes on the islands in their lakes give better cover than is available here.

But we do now have a Black Swan that is not part of a captive collection -- all the birds in this park are here because they want to be. It was being constantly photographed by Sunday visitors, but didn't seem to mind.

A Cormorant was fishing around the wire baskets near the bridge, and the sunny day allowed a picture of it under water.

A Black-Headed Gull on a nearby post was bounced off it by an approaching Moorhen. The Moorhen always wins these encounters.

A young Herring Gull which had grabbed a bit of bread made the mistake of landing on the roof of one of the boathouses before eating it, and was chased by several others.

This Lesser Black-Backed Gull had found a raw chicken wing somewhere and was trying to eat it. But it couldn't swallow it because of the bones, and couldn't get the meat off the bones either, and had to give up.

This wouldn't have been a problem for a Carrion Crow, because these have strong prehensile feet and can hold something down while pecking at it. Gulls have to peck at things lying loosely on the ground.

Crows are passerine birds, like songbirds. These all have feet adapted for gripping branches, and when they lang on a branch and bend their legs to perch, this automatically tightens the tendons in their feet so that they hold on automatically. Perhaps the automatic vice-like grip gives them cramp sometimes. This Coal Tit in the leaf yard was stretching one leg.

The Coal Tit is now coming down enthusiastically to people's hands, taking one pine nut after another and carrying them away to what it hopes is a secret store. Several Nuthatches are also regular customers, though I haven't had one coming to my hand since the summer.

The female Little Owl was in this year's nest tree.

Little Owls have such mobile eyebrows that it is often hard to tell which of the pair you are looking at. The male Little Owl's eyebrows are definitely thicker, particularly in the middle over his beak. He was on his favourite branch in the other chestnut tree.


  1. Man cal' Ralph 'Ancock an 'is frez "hold someting down". 'Im listen too much to dem London yout' natty talk. 'Im not reel Jamaican! ;-0 (Jim n.L.)

    1. Ah bro mi get fowl mout' off em birds! Wa gwan? Jim

  2. My wife and son are coming to the park tomorrow, any tips on finding the owls (I have a vague idea where their nest tree is).

  3. Stand between the trees, slightly closer to the leaf yard than the midpoint between the two, and look at the top left corner of the downhill tree. This is where the male owl often perches. While there are still leaves on the trees, you will need to shuffle around a bit to see him.

    If you look up into the top canopy of the uphill tree from here you may be able to see the female owl. Again, move around to see the whole of the inside of the canopy.

    If this fails, go round to the far side of the uphill tree and look up into it again. The female owl is likely to be at the far top left when viewed from that side.