Spring Arrives

First of all, last week was the week of the first ever Birding Lunch – a week where Britain was asked to set aside at least one lunch hour for a bit of birding. I chose to go out on Thursday to Bunhill Fields, the old dissenters’ burial ground on City Road as it’s not far from the office and has a good selection of habitats. The weather was pretty shocking as a blizzard swirled around East London, so my lunchtime was squished into a 15-minute wander. This did still get me several feral Pigeons, two Woodpigeons, a very vocal Carrion Crow, two Great Tits, two Blue Tits and a Robin. Given that I hadn’t had much time on it, I decided to return on Friday in much better conditions. This brought exactly the same species, but with the addition of Mistle Thrush, Jay, Black-headed Gull and Chaffinch.

Saturday brought the sun, at last. Jem and I agreed to have a relaxing day, with me concentrating on the footie on TV (Wednesday getting a priceless victory against Blackburn Rovers), and then we decided to head off to Kensington Gardens because Twitter had informed me that the first Tawny owlet had been seen on Friday. We got there around 6.30, but I was surprised that there was no sign of any Tawny Owls. I’d seen the Tawny Owls regularly in the same area over last couple of years, so I knew (or thought I knew) exactly where to be looking. After a while we decided to have a look at where we’d previously been told that Little Owls lived, and a young father was showing the rest of his family a hole in a dead tree where an owl had been seen. We waited a while and eventually an owl did indeed pop his head out. A few minutes later he he came out on to a branch and then another owl popped out of the same tree. The first one did a few squawks and flew around a bit but it was starting to get dark so we decided to come home, with the plan of getting up early to return and look for the Tawny Owls again. We also saw a couple of bats on the walk past the Round Pond.

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Mallard

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Little Owl

We didn’t manage to get up as early as planned, but we were at least back in Kensington Gardens by about noon. We waited and waited, but still no sign of the Tawny Owls. We did get a Wren, Green Woodpecker, Robin, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Long-tailed Tits, Chaffinches, Stock Doves and various others, but still no Tawny. After a while we decided to look at the Little Owls again, and one did again pop his head out a few times. We got into conversation with Lee Brown – it turns out that we already followed each other on Twitter – and he notified us of a Wheatear over in Hyde Park, and also that the Tawny Owls have moved! We tried for the Wheatear, photographing a nice close-up Great Crested Grebe on the way, but a couple of dozen Redwings and two young Mistle Thrushes were all we could find. Jem had to head home for the rest of the afternoon so we parted at Hyde Park Corner, and then I decided to do a bit more reconnaissance work to try and find the new Tawny Owl location. Thanks to Lee’s directions and four ladies with binoculars standing underneath, I found one of the adult owls roosting boldly in the top of a tree. Hopefully we’ll return next week and maybe get a chance to one of the owlets – one of the ladies informed me that there are at least four of them out of the nest now.

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Little Owl

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Great Crested Grebe

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Redwing

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Mistle Thrush

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Tawny Owl

About hootbot

Professional design agency photographer and amateur birder.
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