Wednesday, 19 February 2014

A Little Grebe in the reeds near the Italian Garden had caught an impractically large perch, impossible for this small bird to swallow whole.

It took it into the reeds and there was a lot of furious splashing as the bird tried to batter the fish to pieces. I am not sure whether it succeeded, but Little Grebes are known to break up fish when they are feeding their young.

This extremely dull picture of three Great Crested Grebes makes a point.

When you see more than two grebes clustered peacefully together, it means either that they are about to fly out or, as in this case, that they have just arrived. Within a couple of days they will have settled into pairs and started claiming territory, and if you see more than two together they will be in the middle of a dispute.

This male Wood Pigeon was standing tall and puffing himself up to make himself look attractive to a group -- presumably including females -- that were sitting a few feet away.

It is a similar display to that of the Feral Pigeon, but performed as a solitary show rather than to an individual female.

A Herring Gull was in summer breeding plumage, with a pure white head rather than the streaky look of its winter feathers.

There is a breeding colony of Herring Gulls in Paddington, which explains why you see so many of them flying around the railway station, to the exclusion of Lesser Black-Backed Gulls which are just as numerous in the park to the south.

There were only a few Redwings in Hyde Park, again at the eastern end next to Park Lane. They were mixed in with a flock of Starlings, and impossible to count. There were also some Pied Wagtails on the open ground. This one is a female, with a grey back; males have black backs.

The male Tawny Owl was in his usual place on the nest tree, and didn't open an eye while I was there.

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