Sunday, 17 March 2013
No sign of any Tawny Owls yet, though I went round their usual places quite throughly. The wet weather over the weekend has deterred other owl watchers. I hope some join me soon, as finding the owlets is more than a one-man operation.
There were two police vans parked on the path near the leaf yard, and I feared that some awful crime had been committed. Not at all: when I got there I found two policemen and a policewoman all happily feeding Great Tits on their hands. I didn't dare to take a picture of them. One of them told me that he had recently seen another Tawny Owl near the 'Bird Sanctuary' -- that is, the enclosure with the Rima fountain. He said that it was grey and large, and thought it was female -- female owls are larger than males. If he is right about that, it probably means that this pair isn't breeding. We very much hope that the Kensington Gardens pair are, and the signs are encouraging.
Near the Serpentine Gallery there was the whirring sound of two angry thrushes, which turned out to be Song Thrushes attacking a couple of Carrion Crows by buzzing them on the ground. Between attacks, they also chased a Jay out of a tree. This is the best picture I could manage of their lightning swoops.
I saw ten Pied Wagtails in Hyde Park: seven in a group feeding on the grass near the Bluebird Boats cabin, one in the Diana enclosure, and two chasing each other flirtatiously along the edge of the Serpentine.
I haven't seen a Grey Wagtail for some time, though I am keeping an eye on the bridge in the Dell under which they have nested for some years. Let's hope that the violent gardening in this area hasn't frightened them away.
A Green Woodpecker was pecking for worms on the east side of the Vista, until it was frightened away by a pair of baby rabbits. They are easily alarmed.
The Shovellers are still here. Here are a couple shovelling side by side under the Serpentine bridge.
Although Shovellers breed in this country, the ones we see on the lake are only winter visitors. They have odd migration habits: northern birds fly into Britain in winter, and those that spend the summer in Britain fly south in winter.