Monday 1 July 2013

'Owl' Many Rabbits?

You'll never-ever-ever guess where I went on Wednesday.  No wait.....Maybe you will.  So does it surprise you  if I say I went to Minsmere?  I would hope so because I didn't go there.   Where I did go however is somewhere whose wealth of wildlife is somewhat more surprising than Minsmere's.  Kensington Gardens.
We arrived at the park in the afternoon and soon after we bumped into Ralph Hancock and had a chat about what had been seen today.  As we were talking a fellow wildlife photographer came up to ask about the Owls.  So Ralph led us to the tree and soon had the Little Owl on a new perch higher up the tree than last time.  Again the lighting was far from preferable.  Getting the Owl exposed right meant the background was over-exposed....Oh well.  Still nice to get a good view of an owl.

I had a chat with the photographer we met while we went looking for Tawny Owls and some other wildlife.  He was here on a business trip and had taken the day off to come here.  He was happy with what he saw.  We had no luck with the Tawny Owls unfortunately, but you can't have everything.
 We moved on around the lake, I managed to pick up a Reed Warbler on call, but couldn't see it.  I still need one for my year-list.  I have had an unconfirmed, but 90% certain sighting but I can't be definitive.
 Around the lake we saw a Red-crested Pochard, it came too close a lot of the time, and the lighting wasn't preferable.
 We then decided to take a quick look for Rabbits as we haven't seen them here before and we had to leave soon.  Well we saw some Rabbits....A lot of Rabbits.  We counted 16 in one small cleared area.  And they were extremely tame.
 I have noticed something -well to me- interesting; all the star species of this visit are introduced!  The Romans brought the Rabbits over for food when they invaded, most of the Little Owls came from Holland, and it wouldn't surprise me if Charles the 2nd introduced Red-crested Pochard.  Funny how species like the Rabbit fit in so well with our ecosystem: they provide excellent food for Buzzards and foxes.  Little Owls....Well I don't know if they benefit our ecosystem but they seem to fit in well, and are very apt at surviving here.  Fossil evidence in Derbyshire  shows they did once live here but were wiped out in this country.  Who knows how?

A trip up to a local golf-course here in Brighton payed dividends with Whitethroat, Green Woodpecker, Pheasant, Rook and Linnet all being seen.  Linnet takes me to 143 for the year.  No Skylark unfortunately, but they are most likely still there.


  1. Great stuff. I love Kensington Gardens/Hyde Park for wildlife, but have never seen Little Owl there. The Rabbit shots are gorgeous!

  2. Did you know the Little Owl was originally brought to this country by Lord Lilford back in the 1800's who was a very keen birder from Northants, he thought it would be the perfect bird to catch squirrels and Jackdaws, a lot of big "country" manor houses had them as a result. It's why the Northants Bird Club has it as it's logo.
    Great shots.


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