Friday, 15 March 2013
The Mandarins saw someone feeding the ducks by the Peter Pan statue, and came over for a share.
The female has a ring: it is an ordinary BTO ring, number FP44664. It is merely a coincidence that the ring gives the address of the Natural History Museum just half a mile away, as all British rings carried this address until recently, when the BTO changed to giving the Euring web site for reporting ring numbers.
While I was searching unsuccessfully for the Tawny Owls, I passed the plane tree on the path between the Albert Memorial and the Physical Energy statue where some Green Woodpeckers nested last year. It is on the northeast corner of a path crossing, where there is a signpost. The tree has now been taken over by Ring-Necked Parakeets.
This hole is not the woodpeckers' one from last year. It looks like a natural one left by a fallen branch which has been improved by woodpeckers, whose holes are neatly circular. The woodpeckers may have lost this hole but they are still in the area, where their 'yaffle' calls and drumming can be heard.
A ferocious attack of gardening on the former shrubbery at the back of the Lido has left the area sadly denuded. Most of it is now a drab expanse of bare brown earth planted with neat rows of boring nursery plants. However, the Dunnocks who have nested here for several years have still found a little cover under a hedge, where I saw one of them poking about on the ground.
A Goldcrest was singing loudly in a yew tree in Kensington Gardens at the west end of the bridge.
On the shore of the Serpentine a Carrion Crow and a second-winter Herring Gull were disputing the ownership of a peanut.
I wondered whether a big gull can open a peanut, and the answer is yes. It can't hold the nut still with one foot while pecking it open, as a crow can with its strong prehensile toes. A gull's little webbed feet are no good for grasping. Instead it has to peck violently at the nut, which skitters away so the bird has to run after it. But eventually the sharp beak breaks the shell.