Friday, 22 November 2013

The number of Shovellers is building up gradually, though there are still no more than 20 -- not quite the critical mass needed for them to form one of their grand circular processions.

In a good year for them there may be more than 200 on the Long Water.

More winter migrant Blackbirds have arrived, and there were half a dozen in the yew bush or under it picking up fallen berries.

A Song Thrush was singing quietly in an adjacent tree, waiting for the Blackbirds to go away before visiting the bush himself. A single Redwing was seen here this morning, but not by me, so there is no photograph.

The flock of Starlings that has been rushing around Buck Hill for some days decided to visit the rowan trees.

Apart from them, there are still few takers for the fruit. Apparently it becomes more palatable after a frost severe enough to freeze the berries, which are then softer when they thaw.

The Tawny Owls were in their usual place in the beech tree. The male has often been awake and restless in the past few days, a contrast to his usual sleepiness.

But the female didn't stir a feather the whole time I was there.

The male Little Owl was also out making the most of the midday sunshine.

The Great Crested Grebes have retreated from notice in recent days, keeping to the middle of the lake rather than fishing along the edge. The young birds have finally stopped begging and are fending for themselves. Some of the birds on the Serpentine have flown away, possibly sensing the arrival of icy weather. At this time you can often see them on the Thames anywhere upstream of Chiswick. This little family group on the Long Water may just be resting together, but grebes tend to form flocks before they fly, so perhaps they too are thinking of leaving. The young ones, of course, have never been away from the lake, so they will be led by their parents.

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