Wednesday, 14 November 2012
The bright sunshine had brought out both Tawny Owls, and they were sitting in their nest tree. Here is the female, in a hole where a branch has broken off ...
... and here is the male, in the usual place where he will be when they start nesting.
The two stations communicate with each other down the hollow trunk, and an owl has been seen going in one hole and emerging from the second. The pair are beginning to get together as a prelude to the nesting season, but they will not actually nest until the beginning of the new year. Typically, it takes four weeks to hatch the eggs and another four weeks before the owlets can fly a little and emerge from the nest; they usually come out in mid-March.
A Little Owl also put in a brief appearance, flying from an old sweet chestnut tree into the leaf yard, where it was invisible although a lot of the leaves have fallen off now. Everyone with a camera is eagerly waiting for the chance of a good picture, though they may be waiting for ever, as these birds are not keen on being watched.
Large flocks of Long-Tailed Tits were flying around all over the park, with other kinds of tit travelling with them. The Long-Tailed Tits are generally the most numerous in these processions, though you do sometimes see flocks entirely or mainly of Blue Tits behaving in the same way.
There are a lot of Jays in Kensington Gardens, impossible to count if you feed them as the same birds keep coming back for more. Here a Jay shells a peanut with practised ease. It only takes a couple of seconds to rip it open and devour the contents.