Thursday, 25 October 2012

It was the day for the monthly count of birds around the lake. The total of Common Pochards was high at 48, and there were 166 Greylag Geese, though the total of the latter in midwinter can exceed 200, especially in frosty weather when a lot of them come in from other lakes.

There were also several foraging flocks of Long-Tailed Tits, accompanied by Blue, Coal and Great Tits and in one case by a couple of Goldcrests. As I left through Albion Gate on the north side of Hyde Park, a flock came out at the same time and accompanied me up Albion Street and all the way to Sussex Gardens before it turned left to range down this tree-lined avenue. The flock moves at about walking pace and you can stay with one for several minutes, which gives a misleading impression of there being an enormous number of birds; actually it was only about 20 in all.

The number of Canada-Greylag hybrid geese continues to increase, and I counted 6 today. The one shown here is new to the park, I think; a more elegant bird than some of the hybrids which often look rather awkward.

The Great Crested Grebe family from the bridge now spends a lot of time under the willow tree next to the bridge, to get away from raids by Black-Headed Gulls. In fact the gulls often follow them in, but are unable to snatch fish because there is no room under the overhanging tree for them to fly. It is quite a good spot for catching small fish, which gather under the shade of the tree.

Two of the three Little Grebes were also under a willow tree next to the Italian Garden, fishing and collecting small invertebrates from the twigs hanging down into the water. This one has now changed into pale winter plumage; the other one is still brown and ginger.

The fallen horse chestnut tree on the Long Water is now occupied by Cormorants, as there is no longer any room left on the line of posts across the lake opposite Peter Pan. Here two of them are accompanied by a Grey Heron.

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