Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Breezy day in London

On Sunday I went to London for a few hours, thinking I'd do a few hours of photography in the parks before we went on to see Rob's sister (in north London) in the afternoon. I was hoping to see the Tawny Owls in Kensington Gardens but none were on show today, perhaps because (despite sunshine) there was a really cold wind. Still, there were other things to see.

Though it didn't feel much like spring there was an early sign of it in the form of a brood of very new Egyptian Geese. I think this white-headed female is the same one I photographed with goslings last year. Hope it wasn't too cold for the little fluffballs.

In days gone by, people fed House Sparrows by hand in the parks. Not any more, the sparrows have disappeared, but it was good to see lots of Starlings, many accepting handouts from passersby.

This Starling was in full and noisy song, just standing on the ground with lots of other birds milling around him.

What a treat to be able to take close-range photos of an unconcerned Jay. This was one of several species queuing up for peanuts in a quiet corner of the park. Here I saw a Coal Tit feeding from someone's hand - wow.

My previous efforts to photograph Feral Pigeons in flight have been pretty unsuccessful but I got a few sharp ones today. This bird even has 'wild Rock Dove' style markings. All I'd need to do is photoshop in a backdrop of rugged limestone cliffs and I could pretend it was the real deal ;)

A busy bunch of Shovelers. I was on a high bank here so couldn't get a nice angle on them. They were feeding where the water was being churned up by a water overflow. I didn't see many other duck species today - the lake is usually good for free-flying Red-crested Pochard and Mandarin but maybe they have free-flown away.

The wind cared not for the dignity of this poor Tufted Duck.

There were two pairs of Great Crested Grebes in evidence and some courtship (and territorial) behaviour going on. I was very happy to see one bird doing the 'cat display' (top photo) to its mate - a behaviour I hadn't seen before.

As usual, photographing the gulls took up plenty of my time. There were many Black-headed and a good few Common Gulls around, plus smaller numbers of Herring and Lesser Black-backed.

I only saw a couple of Pochards but they did oblige with some super-close views as they went after the old Mother's Pride.

Kneeling on the soggy ground didn't do my trousers any favours but made these corvid pics a bit nicer.

This Grey Heron was joining in the bread fest with the gulls and ducks. It was most amusing to watch him stalk and strike at the floating crusts - the approach would have been much too slow if the other birds hadn't been a bit daunted by him and given him space. After feeding he settled down for a lengthy preen, while numerous tourists filmed him on their cameras.

More kneeling down for some Moorhens.

 There were at least three different Little Grebes around, none of which showed any signs of breeding plumage. What's that all about?


Mike Attwood said...

Nice selection Marianne, especially the tufted duck.

Warren Baker said...

What a great place to practice the old photography Marianne :-) Nice post.

Alan Pavey said...

Excellent pics Marianne, I'm especially envious of the Jay, I can't get near them here :-)