Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Owls and nightime wildlife

Tawny Owl is the only owl that occurs in the park, but it can be very difficult to find. Midwinter is often a good time to listen out for calling birds after dark, especially on dry, clear nights. Two spot checks at 3am in the park this morning by Dominic Mitchell failed to locate any vocal owls, though good views of a Fox on the pavement in front of the Palace building provided some compensation; so did no fewer than four Robins in the area, all singing males stationed close to bright street lamps, which routinely encourage this species to sing throughout the hours of darkness.

There was, however, some eventual success with owls. Later the same day, John Murray heard a calling Tawny give two hoots at 7.25pm from woodland near the conservation pond, although the bird itself was not visible. (If you want to try listening for owls after dark in the park, the safest bet is to do so from a well-lit area such as the main road, and not within woodland itself).

Elsewhere in the park, today's sightings included the usual trio of Goldcrest, Coal Tit and Nuthatch in The Grove, along with several Redwings and a Great Spotted Woodpecker, and another Fox down at the reservoir.