Saturday, 21 February 2009

21 February 2009

What a glorious day!
I decided to concentrate on the Margravine Cemetery and Abbey Gardens parts of my patch instead of the Thames this morning.
Just as I was getting to the hospital I saw the female peregrine arrive from the North face and land on one of her favourite perches. She probably had been eating on the North face, and given the feathers laying around it was likely to be a pigeon. On the fence of the car park a robin was singing, occasionally replied to by another one on the other side of the road. I stood for a while listening to them. I then set off towards Abbey Gardens, spotted a wren and robin in the children playground on the way. First birds I saw at AG were the starlings, then the sparrows. Some of them were by the feeders, I counted 7 at once in a tree. There were also 2 magpies and a few blackbirds. I then went to the green patch next to it, and first thing I stumbled upon was a pair of long tailed tits building a nest, and they were quite comfortable with me being quite close, which was nice. They were not too happy with the sparrows getting close to their bush, and there were a lot of sparrows, also busy building their nests, under the roof tiles. Impossible for me to count how many of them there were, between them being so mobile, and hiding in the bushes, but I had at least 7 in a shrub, and 9 on a roof at once.
As I was leaving the green patch, a low flying grey heron passed by towards central London. A crow noticed it and flew after it.
Margravine Cemetery was echoing to the sound of tits, magpies and blackbirds. I stood for a while listening and recording a blackbird that might be the one we called Nokia last year. I didn't quite get its signature mobile phone ring but it got close. I heard a great spotted woodpecker but did not manage to locate it. I located the female a little while later on my way back from the shops, feeding near the chapel. I haven't seen the male for a while now, but then last year I could never see the female. The parakeets were at their hole, another one trying to get in into one of the nestboxes put on a nearby tree, the entrance hole of it having been enlarged. As I was looking at them, I heard a rattle and saw a mistle thrush arrive from a North direction and land in a tree. I couldn't find it in that tree (damn sun in my eyes) but heard another rattle and was going in that direction when I heard a peregrine cry. Trees were obscuring my view of the hospital so I ran to a position where I saw the male, who had been eating on the North face, land, and the female all 'excited'. More rattle, and 3 mistle thrushes flew by...

This afternoon, I was stroking the cat at the window when I noticed a bird in a tree on the other side of the street. I thought at first it was a tit (as they commonly use that tree) but its behaviour was odd (flying into the ivy) so I picked up my binoculars and saw it was a chiffchaff. Possibly the same one I have seen in the area twice already. I quickly grabbed my camera but it was faster than me :(

I went back into Margravine Cemetery again before sunset. The female peregrine was standing on top of the hospital, possibly waiting for the male to bring dinner. He came for 2 minutes and left again. I stood there for a while watching the finches going to roost in the evergreen oak and laurel, mostly goldfinches but also at least 2 chaffinches and 1 greenfinch.