Friday, 5 October 2012
It looked as if it was going to be a pretty ordinary day in the park, as far as a day when you see forty species of bird can be called ordinary. No sight of any Hobbies and I am pretty sure they are gone. The Little Owl called from a tree outside the leaf yard then flew into it and called again, but I was on the wrong side of a tree and didn't catch a glimpse of this elusive bird. A flock of Long-Tailed Tits passed by, carrying with it Great Tits, Blue Tits, Coal Tits and a Chiffchaff. And there was the sight of one of the recently arrived Shovellers preening his fine multicoloured wings.
But as I was passing the Dell restaurant, one of the pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gulls was trotting about on the shore looking for its next meal. Most of the Feral Pigeons had the sense to keep well clear. But one was incautiously picking up scraps at the water's edge, and the gull seized it.
The pigeon struggled desperately ...
... and got away, leaving a beakful of feathers floating in the water.
It is the second time I have been lucky enough to photograph the predatory gulls in action, and both times the pigeon escaped. But this is by no means always the case, and several times I have seen a pigeon being killed but didn't get the camera on to it quick enough. When I walk past this spot there is about an even chance that there will be a sad pigeon carcase on the edge of the water. These birds are remarkably efficient, particularly when you consider that they lack the strong grasping feet of hawks and owls.