Archive for the ‘Natural History’ Category

Studies on Crow

Posted: December 27, 2018 in Birds, Natural History
Tags:

These are some photographs I took of a carrion crow which I found in Hyde Park last week.

Keith and I finished the day at St James Park, hoping to possibly see Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail. The park is also home to a collection of exotic wildfowl from around the world. This dates back to when the park was actually the gardens of the Royal Palace at Whitehall. Further details about the history of this collection can be found at https://petesfavouritethings.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/the-royal-pelicans/

The Pelicans seem pinker than I have seen them before.
Cormorants roosting in tree
Grey Heron

As well as seeing the collection birds, we also recorded a number of wild species, but no kingfisher or Grey Wagtail.

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Rock Dove (Feral) (Columba livia ‘feral’)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)

Keith had come up to London for the day and so we started at Hyde Park. Our main target for the day was to see and photograph Little Owl. In many places, this species is becoming scarce, but here in the park, there are at least three breeding pairs.

Italian Gardens

We started at Notting Hill Gate and proceeded to walk down the long water to the owl nesting site we had photographed last year.

Mute Swan
Ring-necked Parakeet

Finding the nest tree was no problem, but scanning the tree, there was no sign of any owls. Whilst we were looking, one of the local birders came up and gave us directions to another nest, where he said the female owl regularly sat out in the nest hole.

Great Cormorant
Lesser Black-backed Gull

We continued down the long water, crossing over the bridge and walking down to the Lido, where we stopped for a coffee break. Then we turned north again and walked up the other side of the long water.

Looking North from the Lido
Coot
Great Crested Grebe
Tufted Duck

We made our way to the area where we had been told there was another Little Owl nest and sure enough there was an owl sitting in the nest hole.

Little Owl

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Gadwall [sp] (Mareca strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mew Gull [sp] (Larus canus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Rock Dove (Feral) (Columba livia ‘feral’)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Little Owl [sp] (Athene noctua)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)

Would you live here?

Posted: December 20, 2018 in Landscape
Tags:

When Sue and I were in the Olympic Park at the weekend we saw this building. I am not sure how much they assured me it was safe I would want to live in a building with half a floor cut out!

Sue commented that this piece of ice from Icewatch, London (See yesterday’s post) reminded her of the Polar Bear in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. This is one of our favourite pieces of art and a must visit everytime we are in the city.

Photo by Steve Elliott (https://www.flickr.com/photos/jabberwock/)

Which is all the excuse I need to publish some pictures of this wonderful piece of sculpture by Francois Pompon. I don’t know why I like it so much but there is something so clean and stylish about it and I love that questioning look on his face.

Photo by Wally Gobetz (https://www.flickr.com/photos/wallyg/)

It is also a reminder that Polar Bears are really suffering due to the break up of Arctic ice which is restricting their ranges and causing shortages of food.

Ice-Watch London

Posted: December 13, 2018 in Art, London, Natural History, UK
Tags:

“Put your hand on the ice, listen to it, smell it, look at it – and witness the ecological changes our world is undergoing” Olafur Eliasson

An artwork by Olafur Eliasson and Minik Rosing in the City of London. It aims to provide an immediate, tangible testimony to the effects of Climate change. The Greenland ice sheet is losing 200 to 300 billion tonnes of ice every year, raising sea levels around the globe. These large blocks came from a fjord in Greenland, where they had already detached from the ice sheet, just like 10,000 other such blocks which detach from the ice sheet every day.

24 hours later

The blocks will be on display until 21st December or whenever they melt away.

24 hours later

Thanks to Sue for the photographs

ALWAYS RETURN

Posted: December 12, 2018 in Natural History
Tags:

I was unsettled to read in the paper the other day that there are large and powerful lobbying organisations who sole premise is the removal of regulations: Tax, Environmental, Conservation, Social Benefits, Health and safety from our law books. The motive so that rich people can make even more money and **** the rest of society.

Towheeblog

“You may drive out nature with a pitchfork, but she will always return.”   –Horace
“In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments–there are consequences.”  –Robert Ingersoll

There are more indications of how close to the precipice of extinction we have driven the planet.  The wintering population of monarch butterflies in California used to be in the millions, now it is less than 100-thousand.

The Trump Administration wants to drill for oil in land once saved from development for the helpless Sage Grouse.  What good is some silly bird if there’s a profit to be had from public land?

We are, unnaturally, poisoning ourselves along with the rest of planet.  Plastic stools of the fecal variety…

More and more scientists remind us of what happened the last time there was a crucial heating of the earth…uit was widespread death.

SOMETHING JOYOUS COMES AT LAST

In New Zealand waters divers got…

View original post 35 more words

This cat has been in the garden for a few days chasing the Grey Squirrels, without much sucess. They just run up the trees and sit on the branches looking at the cat. Catch me if you can!

The cat spent a few days patrollling round the bottom of the tree waiting for the squirrels to come down, which of course they don’t. So eventually it took the plunge and tried to climb the tree. It got so far and stopped. It looked around as if to say ‘oops now what do I do’. Eventually it realised that if it let go it would land back on solid ground. But it wasnt finished, it took a longer run up and ended up in exactly the same place. Again after considering the options it dropped back to the ground and slunk off. Squirrels 1 Cat 0.

Well it had seemed a good plan at the time!

Birdlog: Blackcaps are back!

Posted: December 7, 2018 in Birds, Natural History
Tags: ,

Continuing my look back over the 5 years of the blog. This was certainly a highlight for our garden (posted April 2013). For a couple of years, we had both summering and wintering Blackcaps in the garden, But sadly none since although I did find a pair by the Tarn in both summer 2017 and this past summer.

April 2013

Following on from my brief sighting of a female blackcap a week or so ago I have had no more summer visitors in the garden. Imagine my surprise this morning when I pulled the curtains to find these two in the bushes. The male was hanging on a branch and then reaching out as far as he could to feed on a flower head below him
20130413080207(7)

20130413080207(9)

20130413080207(4)

Canada Goose

Posted: December 5, 2018 in Birds, Natural History
Tags:

The Canada Goose is one of our common resident geese, Introduced from North America from the late 17th century it has spread across almost the whole of the UK and is often found on city lakes and in parks as well as in the countryside.

It is estimated that there are around 62,000 breeding pairs in the UK with a peak population of around 190,000 birds.

Flock of Canada Geese with a single Greylag Goose (centre)