Monday 27 December 2021

Another dark drizzly day didn't deter the Buck Hill Mistle Thrush from singing. I love Mistle Thrushes, but it has to be admitted that their song is not a patch on the happy ebullience of a Song Thrush or the inventiveness of a Blackbird.

While the Mistle Thrush was busy, some Blackbirds...

... and Redwings took the opportunity to eat fruit in the rowan trees.

In fact the fierce Mistle Thrush has done the other thrushes a service, because it keeps Rose-Ringed Parakeets almost out of the rowans. If these destructive birds spent any time there they would strip the tree and throw most of the fruit on the ground.

The male Little Owl was in the nearby lime tree during the morning. The dead leaves of the disused squirrel drey kept him from being wetted by the rain.

There was a brief sunny interval in the afternoon, so I went back to try to get a better picture and found the female owl in the same place -- note her smaller eyebrows. Maybe they spend their time there side by side and occasionally one or the other looks out.

A Robin in the Rose Garden was jumpy because there was another Robin in the same bush. It sang a couple of phrases, thought better of confronting the other, and flew away.

A Dunnock looked out from behind a twig, but flew away before I could move round for a clear shot.

A Long-Tailed Tit perched on a bare twig.

A Carrion Crow poked around in rain-wetted dead leaves.

Moorhens found drier leaves under the shelter of the bushes at the edge of the Serpentine.

The male Peregrine of the usual pair was back on the crane in Knightsbridge.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull had not yet caught his lunch. He called irritably.

A small female was just light enough to balance on one of the plastic buoys at the Lido. Larger gulls tip up the buoy and fall off.

A troop of Black-Headed Gulls marched down the Vista.

Three Grey Heron nests on the island were occupied for the first time this winter. These two pictures are very dreary, but I'm putting them up as a record.

Branches at the west end of the island have become a favourite perch for Cormorants, and there is almost always at least one there.


  1. You must be sick of my canary bird parallels, but the jumpy Robin shows the same behaviour he used to show when he was stressed out of his little mind: he would polish his beak nervously on a twig, defecate, fluff up his feathers and give himself a shake.

    Perhaps eyebrow difference in Little Owls is a secondary sexual trait as it is in humans?

    1. Yes, in all the Little Owl pairs I've seen in the park the male has had bigger eyebrows than the female, looking all the larger because he is smaller.

  2. What happened to the owl/s in the Gardens, on the chestnut tree? Is this definitely a different pair?

    1. The original three pairs of Little Owls in Kensington Gardens arrived as adults in the spring of 2012. I don't think any of them are still alive. The three pairs we have seen this year must be their descendants.