Saturday, 14 February 2009

14 February 2009

When I left home at 8, I thought that it didn't feel too cold, but by the time I arrived back home 2 hours later my fingers felt very cold indeed. There was a light cloud cover and no wind.
I am glad to say that Frank Banfield Park is not the disaster zone I thought it would be when I discovered they were landscaping it last year. I guess it helps that they kept most of the mature trees, as this is were I found a pair of goldcrests happily feeding on it. On other trees I also saw crows, robins (one of them singing all fluffed up), tits, magpie, chaffinch (including a pair chasing each other), goldfinch, and blackbird on the ground.
In a tree at the corner of Distillery Road, there was a stand-off between a male sparrow and 2 starlings which the sparrow 'won' as the starlings left. The sparrow then left as well and joined a few others on nearby roofs. Also on those roofs were 2 robins, 2 blackbirds and 2 great tits
At the same time I suddenly noticed a male peregrine hunting a starling, and missing, over the building site. It continued in the direction of the Thames. This explained the crows I'd heard a few seconds before from the park. Interestingly also I thought, a pair of goldfinches were exploring a palm tree type plant.

At the Thames, the tide was going down and it was very busy with:
  • black-headed gulls: with more of them turning to summer plumage
  • teal: 68, still quite numerous and whistling a fair bit
  • mallard: 23 (though I am sure I forgot to write some down)
  • gadwall:37
  • tufted duck: 14
  • common gull: 7
  • herring gull: 1 adult and a 4W by the bridge and a pair by Crabtree Wharf
  • lesser black-backed gull: 3 adults on the pier (2 streaky heads, and the one that looks slightly paler with a white head)
  • great black-backed gull: the pair on the pontoon, resting
  • pied wagtail: 1 flying along the shore
  • cormorant: 3 on the pontoon and 1 flying up river
  • coot: I wonder if this one is going to become resident. It might think it has come to the right spot, as it comes for bread (a rare occurrence for me to have bread now that I bake my own, but I had some today), though in this instance its piece got stolen from its beak by a gull ;)
  • moorhen: the pair by the pontoon

On the way back, the sparrows on W Rd were fairly noisy, I counted up to 8 at once in a tree in front of their nests, while 2 were in a bush on the building site with at least 23 goldfinches.

The male peregrine was eating something with a lot of white feathers; in fact, one was stuck to its tail. My back was turned when I heard a soft e-chup, the female had just arrived with a prey of her own, of which all I saw was a dark grey wing.

Later on, I was coming back from the shops through Margravine Cemetery, I could hear parakeets and spotted one on the great spotted woodpecker tree. At the same time, I could see the pair at the other hole nearby, so that was another pair. Not good. Then I noticed the female woodpecker was also on the tree, and she flew into the parakeet. It flew away but came back, she fought with it again. I'll have to continue monitor this situation.

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