Wednesday 8 March 2017

Charlie and Melissa the Carrion Crows are building a nest on Buck Hill, unfortunately in the lime tree already occupied by the Little Owls. The owls are not going to like this at all, and may move to another tree. They haven't started nesting yet.

The female Little Owl near the Albert Memorial was preening.

This pair have already dealt with challenges from Stock Doves and Jackdaws, and seem secure in their nest hole. I wish I could say the same about the hollow branch they have chosen, which is split all the way along and will collapse soon.

A Grey Heron was bringing twigs to the top nest on the island.

The Great Crested Grebes' nest at the east end of the island is still literally an on-off affair, and today the bird was not on it.

As I mentioned yesterday, plastic bags are a hazard to most wildlife, but to grebes they are a valuable nesting material, much stronger than the soggy water plants and algae they would otherwise use. This nest is also ornamented with a couple of plastic bottles, which they must have pushed across the lake.

The Coot nesting beside the bridge has got quite used to close encounters with Cormorants. There's a good deal of plastic in this nest too.

Another Cormorant caught a perch near the Italian Garden.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was calling in a tree near the leaf yard.

Tom got this fine picture of a Green Woodpecker near the Queen's Temple yesterday. This pair can be seen anywhere between the temple and the leaf yard, and well over towards the Round Pond.

The pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull and his mate were sharing a pigeon.

They must have eaten their fill, because when I came back a few minutes later they had abandoned it and a Carrion Crow was finishing off the remains unmolested.

This gull seems to kill at least one Feral Pigeon a day, but it makes no difference to the population, as pigeons flock in from the surrounding streets.

A young Herring Gull was after smaller prey, doing the worm dance in the Diana fountain enclosure.

Fieldfares can find their worms without dancing. This one on the Parade Ground hauled up several as I watched.

A dozen or so Redwings were similarly engaged.

Several pairs of Long-Tailed Tits were in the bushes beside the Long Water in the endless quest for bugs.

They are staying in roughly the same places, presumably because they are building nests here, as opposed to their behaviour in winter when they range all over the park in large flocks.


  1. The worm dance never fails to be so funny. I never tire of watching their feet go pitter-patter.

    1. Sometimes you get half a dozen of them all doing it together, not unlike Riverdance.

  2. Oh, if you could get that on video! It sounds very entertaining.

    I've got my hands on Jennifer Ackerman's The Genius of Birds and am enjoying it a lot so far. To be honest I picked the book up to learn if scientists had finally picked up on Gulls' play behaviour. I'm still halfway the tool-building chapter. She says she saw an American raven and a Jay (Blue Jay? I'm reading the execrable Spanish translation and cannot tell) bayonet-charging at each other with a sharp twig.

    1. I've tried still pictures, but they're unimpressive as the gulls aren't close enough together. Might work in video, maybe for just three or four together.

      Interesting about the weapon-using corvids. We're familiar with chimpanzees beating each other with sticks, a depressingly near-human bit of behaviour.

  3. Predators never make no difference, as the RSPB would have one believe. There is Le Chatelier's Principle.

    Could the Little Owls also tolerate the crows nesting as they will repel other predators? Jim

    1. The crows will harass the owls. We've seen exactly this in the nest at the leaf yard.