Wednesday 28 December 2016

Both the Little Owls in the oak tree near the Albert Memorial came out at different times. This is the female ...

... and this is the male.

You can see how much smaller he is than her, and more angular in shape. The difference in shape is also noticeable with the original pair of owls near the leaf yard, but much less so with the pair in the lime tree near the Henry Moore sculpture. Unless these are side by side I can't be sure of telling them apart.

As during the past few days, it was flying restlessly around the group of trees. Both these owls seem to be quite nervous of photographers, but they are less disturbed by a camera lens than they are by being stared at with the naked eye or, worse, with binoculars, which must look like big owl eyes to them.

Underneath the Henry Moore, the resident pair of Egyptians were making a terrible racket.

Readers of this blog will remember that this is the first pair of Egyptians to arrive in the park, at least twelve years ago now, and that despite nesting up to three times a year they have never managed to raise an offspring, their only living descendant being one that they abandoned and was raised other parents. In spite of their incompetence, they have a tight hold on this patch of grass and any other Egyptians that land here are chased off.

Two rabbits were visible here today. Although the population has been greatly depleted by foxes and disease, I'm sure it will bounce back in the spring. The largest number of rabbits I ever saw here was 37.

Another in our series of Christmas Robins was singing to them from a neighbouring bush.

Since the rowan trees on Buck Hill ran out of berries there hasn't been much sign of Mistle Thrushes here, but today there was one in a tall tree where the flock sometimes perches.

A Blue Tit was looking particularly fine on a bramble near the leaf yard.

And I can't resist photographing Coal Tits. Once these tiny birds start coming to your hand to feed, it's amazing how confident they are.

Some Long-Tailed Tits were flying through the trees at the edge of the Serpentine.

A Cormorant flew to a new fishing place in the lake, not an inch higher than was necessary.

Although Herring Gulls and Common Gulls do the foot-pattering dance to bring up worms, Lesser Black-Backed Gulls don't. Instead, they peck quite violently at the grass. Evidently it works. Blackbirds use the same technique on a smaller scale.


  1. Do you know whether anyone has estimated the life expectancy of Egyptian Geese in the U.K? They are certainly thriving.
    I remember your pictures of the little abandoned gosling. I was really pleased it was rescued

    1. Their expected lifespan is said to be 15 in the wild, up to 35 in a park.

  2. I saw Egyptian geese in Bromley Church hill gardens on Friday, first time ever.

    1. Wonder whether the original escapes were from central London parks and they're radiating outwards. That would be the opposite direction from the spread of Rose-Ringed Parakeets.