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#FeelGoodPhotoOfTheDay – Air Brakes

Air Brakes

#FeelGoodPhotoOfTheDay – Air Brakes

Air Brakes

Putting on the brakes
It’s time to slow down and rest
Before we shall soar

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ShareMondays2020 – FEED ME!

FEED ME! - a newly fledged song thrush in February

ShareMondays2020 – FEED ME!

Friday before last, I had to go to the Central Middlesex Hospital, near Wembley, for a small bowel MRI to check on the adhesions in my gut. Adhesions are often a consequence of abdominal surgery and I’ve had quite a number of operations for my Crohn’s. Anyway, I had to hang around at the hospital for a while after the scan, to wait for the mannitol solution to pass, so I went to the cafe by the entrance. I couldn’t quite believe my eyes when I saw a pair of song thrush busily taking food to a nest in a small tree outside the front entrance of the hospital. Surely it’s far too early for nesting!

I had come out without any cameras and I was soon cursing myself for it. Heading outside for a closer look, people were wandering around in the area but the birds were ignoring them. I stood there watching the adults bringing in several meals of worms to two very hungry nestlings. Song thrush do start to nest earlier than some other birds, usually having two or three broods during the season, which normally runs from March to August. Nesting is triggered by the weather and we have been having a very mild winter! I managed to capture a few images with my phone as a record, a couple are heavily zoomed as I didn’t want to disturb the birds.

Storm Dennis arrived at the weekend and the weather was truly appalling all week. I couldn’t return to the site with my camera until last Friday. I feared that the weather could have spelled disaster for the nest! When I arrived the nest was empty, but I could hear the thrush making chatting noises in the garden area alongside the hospital. I approached cautiously and hid at the corner of the wall to search the gardens. It was delightful to spot the two fledgings close by, hunkered down in the grass, calling for the adults to feed them. Eventually, the adults managed to coax both fledgings to take a haltering flight into the safety of the hedgerow.

Feeding time for fledgling song thrush

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Branching Out At St James’s Park

Tawny Owl juvenile in St James's Park

Branching Out At St James’s Park

When tawny owlets are only about five weeks old they leave the nest. They’re not fledging yet, they’re branching! The staff at St James’s Park discovered that tawny’s had returned to the park after an absence of twelve years, when they discovered one of the branched owlets in the back of a tractor. It’s not unusual for branching owlets to fall off their perch. Most of the time they will be absolutely fine and the advice is to leave them where they are unless they are lying down, showing other signs of distress or are in immediate danger. They will sit still on the ground until nightfall when they are known to use their strong talons to climb back into the tree! Even if they don’t return quickly, the parents will carry on feeding the owlet on the ground. Gardeners at the park were actually able to return this little owlet to it’s mother in the tree!

It was quite incredible to be able to watch this owlet and one of its’ parents last Friday. They were high up in the trees and it had started raining. I was captivated though! Fortunately I had my raincoat so I was able to observe them for a while despite the weather. It did make it hard to photograph them though. I was using a Fujinon 100-400mm lens with a 1.4x teleconverter to watch and photograph. You really do need a long lens or powerful binoculars to see them closely! The owlet has some good adult feathers coming through on the tail and wings but still plenty of downy fluff too. It was stretching the wings a lot and jumping between branches really well. The other wonderful behaviour I was able to watch was the circling off the head as the owlet builds up a full picture of it’s surroundings.

There are also Tawny Owls in Regents Park and these sighting are brilliant news for the species! It’s also a good sign that wildlife conservation and habitat management in The Royal Parks is working well. There must be a good amount of prey species available for these wonderful owls and this owlet certainly seems to be thriving! If you do go to St James’s or anywhere else to watch tawny owls and owlets, please keep a reasonable distance from their tree so you don’t disturb them. They are a protected species and these London owlets are very precious!

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ShareMondays2019 – Punk Pelican

Punk Pelican

ShareMondays2019 – Punk Pelican

I went to St James’s Park in London on Friday after a morning appointment at Guy’s Hospital. I went for the wildlife and I wasn’t disappointed! The pelicans were gathered ready for their afternoon feed, showing off for the public. It’s a lovely opportunity to study them up close. Absolutely stunning birds! When the breeze lifted this pelican’s crest, I couldn’t help but be reminded off the sad loss of Prodigy front-man, Keith Flint, last week. He would have rocked this hairdo too!