Monday, 8 October 2012
A dull drizzly day, but the lack of people means that you can see more of the everyday business of the park birds: several Goldcrests and Wrens hopping about in the bushes, a Treecreeper poking around for insects, a pair of Song Thrushes in the scrubby patch at the lower end of the Serpentine, two Black-Headed Gulls having an aerial fight with a Ring-Necked Parakeet, and a Carrion Crow in turn harrying the gulls.
There was a loud commotion of small birds' alarm calls in a lime tree near the southeast corner of the leaf yard, and I wondered whether the Little Owl might be in it. But a Magpie flew out and the alarms died down, and I went to see if the Tawny Owl was in his usual tree again. He wasn't, but as I came back the same way I heard and briefly saw the Little Owl, flying from a sweet chestnut tree at the southwest corner of the leaf yard (51.507853,-0.177297) into the yard itself. This is the first time I have seen this bird for several months. I have calls from this area several times recently, and will keep an eye out to try to find whether this tree is a habitual place for one of the Little Owls.
The first Common Gull of the year was sitting on a post near the Serpentine island. In midwinter they are accustomed to gather in large numbers at the top end of the Parade Ground near Marble Arch, but now that this area has been reduced to a sterile desert they will have to find somewhere else.
At the Dell restaurant, the pair of Lesser Black-Backed Gulls were amicably sharing a pigeon that one of them had killed.
And, to complete a trio, here is a Black-Headed Gull perched on the eroded limestone head of one of the spouting goddesses flanking the fountain in the Italian Garden.
On the Serpentine, a Shoveller was having a flap. I wondered whether it would be tempted by a bit of biscuit, or whether it would prefer the tiny organisms it was shovelling up. It came over as willingly as one of the park's resident Mallards to take my offering.