Owls Well That Ends Well

Last Saturday saw Team Sausage accept an invitation from our friend Wendy to join her, and our other patch-mate Sue, on a trip to Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park.

Having got some lovely Starling and gull photos sightings on our last visit back in December, we were hoping to get some sighting of the resident Tawny Owls this time. Mrs Sausage has been unlucky with her wild owl sightings so far, but these owls have been very consistent in their showing. Huge thanks should go to Ralph and his excellent blog on the parks. With daily updates on the avian action in these two royal parks, it’s an essential read for anyone looking to visit London for a bit of urban birding.

Conditions were excellent as we entered the park, a bright, crisp, winter’s morning and not too busy. With Long-tailed, Great and Blue Tits flitting among the trees either side of us and the ever present, and ever noisy Ring-necked Parakeets overhead, there was plenty of life at Kensington Gardens.

Squawking Egyptian Geese flew overhead, one claiming a room with a view atop this decapitated tree.

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Wendy then led us to the much desired Tawny Owl tree. She informed us that they have been resident in the park for around eleven years now. Sitting on the “balcony” of the tree, dozing in the mid-morning sun was this magnificent Tawny Owl.

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We decided to let the Tawny rest and moved towards some feeders near the Long Water. Here we had Robin, the various Tits and at least two very active Nuthatch. Although the birds in the park are very accustomed to people and get very close to you, the Nuthatch were determined to use the highest points possible before they would sit still long enough for a decent picture.

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Slightly more obliging were these sunbathing Grey Squirrels.

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And this Jay
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As I mentioned above, the birds in Kensington Gardens have become so used to people that they regularly feed out of the hands of anyone willing to offer up some cheese or seeds. We had Great Tits, Blue Tits, Robins and even a Pigeon coming to take food from generous open hands. Here’s a pic taken by Wendy of Mrs Sausage feeding a Great Tit.

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The Long Water was also looking resplendent in the sun and was even making the more commonly seen birds that little more photogenic. Along with the ubiquitous Coots and Moorhens, the sun was lighting up the Mallards plumage wonderfully.

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Along with the Canada, Greylag and more Egyptian geese, Tufted Ducks were also catching the eye. The sun catching some purple plumage on this one as it headed straight towards us.

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Even the gulls seemed worthy of some camera time today, with Black-headed, Herring and Lesser Black-backed all showing well.
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The morning was topped off nicely with Mute Swans, Pochard, Grey Heron and Cormorants putting in appearances as we made our way back out.
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We counted a nice round thirty species during our three and a half hour visit although I think we both would have settled for just the Tawny Owl.

Massive thanks to Wendy for sharing the Tawny tree with us and to Sue for the excellent company.

More pics are on our Flickr page.

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2 responses to “Owls Well That Ends Well

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