This Corvus corone was indulging in a meal of fish at Farmoor reservoir near Oxford. Carrion crows are highly intelligent and social birds. If you’d like to learn more about them and other corvids, you should read Esther Woolfson’s excellent book Corvus.
In Oxford, Milvus milvus is a common sight and has been for a few years, after a successful reintroduction scheme some decades ago. The situation throughout the Western Paleoarctic is rather mixed for the species, and overall not very bright.
London has so much to offer that some not so well-known places are more or less off the radar of tourists and even locals. The London Wetland Centre seems to be, and totally undeservedly, such a place.
We went there mid-May, and had a wonderful day out. The one and only drawback is that it is located under a Heathrow flightpath. Makes for good photo-ops though.
Of course, we went there for the wildlife, and there is plenty to be seen. You can find very common birds, and also some rarer ones. As always with wildlife, a bit of luck is involved.
The WWT is also involved in conservation work. They care for some local species, like sand martins.
The trust also supports conservation efforts from further afield. If you go on one of their tours (for free, and highly recommended), you’ll hear a lot about all the species and the WWT’s work with them.
It’s easy to get there: you can either walk along the Thames Path, or follow the instructions on their website.
It’s a very family friendly place, but if you prefer quiet and peace with the birds and the reeds, that can be found easily too.
Columba livia is widespread, but this individual is not any ordinary pigeon. One can determine by the rings that s/he is a racing or homing pigeon, originally based in Reading/UK. The bird has been in the garden for several days and has been provided with food and water. Maybe the racing days are over?
This Streptopelia turtur was making the typical gentle purring noises to find a mating partner when we saw him at the RSPB reserve, Otmoor, last week.
Turtle doves are classified as a vulnerable species. Main dangers are farming practices and hunting, in particular spring hunting in Malta.
Oxford is home to many traditions, and one of them is May Morning.
Stand in front of Magdalen Tower and admire the people who come from last night’s party and look more awake than you will feel for the whole day. Wait for crowds to assemble properly.
Wait patiently until 6am. Listen to Magdalen College Choir intoning the Hymnus Eucharisticus and madrigals, and the chiming of the tower bells. Applaud.
Follow the crowds on the High Street up to Radcliffe Camera. Leave a minute or two to ponder any signs you come across.
Divert your attention to May Morning get-ups ranging from leafy headgear to walking trees.
Upon arrival or along the way, take in any occurrences of Samba, pipers and Scottish dancers, rock music, English folk music or Morris dancing.
Finally, try to find a pub that’s only 105% full so you can have breakfast. Failing that, try and make your way home. Can’t guarantee that’s possible, though.