Friday, 29 March 2013

An afternoon in Regent's Park

Yesterday I went to London to meet a couple of fellow RSPB forumites and to look at the birds in Regent's Park. It was SOOOO cold, even here in the city where things are usually a little warmer, but the threatened rain didn't happen. We didn't see anything out of the ordinary but it was ace to meet Hazel, Mike and Paul, and the birds that were about were on good form.

After leaving the cafe we found a group of grazing geese which included Bar-headed, Barnacles, Greylags, Canadas and this hybrid bird. I thought it resembled the Bar-headed x White-fronted Goose from St James's Park, but not sure it's quite the same. I had a google and found a couple of photos of the same bird, but no definite view on its parentage. It is free-winged and according to this excellent blog apparently associates with the (also free-winged) Bar-heads, arriving with them in spring, staying a few months, and leaving again for the winter.

Many of the Tufties on the boating lake were paired up. These two looked a little unhappy at being scrutinised...

... unlike these exhibitionists.

Also very active in the reproductive department were the Grey Herons, many of which already have well-grown chicks in the nest. The young birds were making a right racket.

There were ample chances to practice flight shots as the adults came and went, some still augmenting their colossal stick nests. Pity about the leaden skies.

Regents Park squirrels don't seem quite as in-your-face as their Hyde Park brethren. This one demanded nuts with menaces though. Others we saw were collecting leaves and stuff to furnish their dreys.

Near the road bridge were a couple of breeding-plumaged Little Grebes, and a third that was still in its winter gear. There were also a couple of Great Cresteds.

Furtive Blackbird. Small passerines weren't much in evidence today but did include Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Long-tailed, Great, Blue and Coal Tits and Goldcrest.

A couple of vigorously bathing Greylag Geese provided some amusing moments, as they performed forward rolls and other aquabatics.

Pochards are as numerous as Tufties on this lake. Unlike their congeners they don't seem to have paired up, and there were plenty of chases and scuffles among the males.

Presumably at least some of the many adult Black-headed Gulls here will be departing for their breeding grounds sometime soon. The very cold weather must be affecting the timing of breeding behaviour in many species.

Egyptian Geese with white faces are not that uncommon and can cause confusion. I've heard the 'h' word bandied about in reference to such birds but I don't see anything about this one to suggest the influence of another species, and I'd say it's a pure Egyptian Goose with leucism.


Graham Canny said...

It sounds like a great day! A pity I couldn't make it too. But I'm really fed up with this weather. Maybe another time....

And I've just worked out how to create an account!

Warren Baker said...

Love those Grey Heron Flight shots Marianne - the other images aren't too terrible either ! :-)

you're certainly getting around a bit with your postings :-)

Hazel Rothwell said...

Hi Marianne, believe it or not I have only just caught up with this brilliant blog site so have a lot of your interesting reports to read and catch up on !
Mike and I had a great time in Regents with you and your amazing knowledge and help was a real boon to us in ID-ing all the waterfowl. Thanks again for meeting up with us and Paul and hope to do it again one day when the weather is not quite so cold; I just love those London Parks, especially Regents :)