Saturday, 7 December 2013

The clump of rowan trees on Buck Hill was a busy place. In five minutes it was visited by a flock of Starlings, two Blue Tits, a Ring-Necked Parakeet, a Carrion Crow, a Jay and -- at last -- by two Mistle Thrushes. Here is one of them.

Another two Mistle Thrushes were seen in Hyde Park, so it seems that the winter migrants are beginning to trickle in.

However, this Song Thrush in the Flower Walk is one of a resident pair that have nested here for some years. She was looking for the last berries in a yew tree while her mate was singing higher up in the same tree.

A Cormorant fishing near the bridge was having trouble swallowing a large perch. It had to drop it and pick it up twice to turn it the right way round, and even then took some time to get it down.

I don't think this is the upper limit of size that a Cormorant can swallow. But perch are tricky because of their spiny dorsal film and have to be swallowed precisely head first to avoid problems for the bird (though that is nothing to the problem facing the unfortunate fish, which was not having an easy death).

The Tawny Owls came out on to the balcony in their nest tree. After seeing only one earlier, I found them both when I was going home.

Boring technical note: this picture was taken ten minutes after sunset on a dim day, at 1/15 second and an aperture of f2.8 at full zoom, with my Lumix FZ200. No other bridge camera could have managed this shot.

Both the Peregrines were on the tower of the Metropole Hilton Hotel, where the Marylebone Flyover crosses the Edgware Road. The male flew out as I arrived, and the female stayed on her ledge eating a pigeon.

Sorry about this grainy picture: the tower is very tall and the birds' day roost is on the side away from what little light there was.

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