Posted by: atowhee | October 23, 2012


The Carrion Crow is the species that shows up in European literature back to earliest cave-wall sribbles. It’s similar to the American Crow in many ways, very different in one: it’s common for this crow species to have white in its plumage. Often in a seeemingly random or non-Palladian, imbalanced pattern. Here are some I followed around in Brockwell Park between Herne Hill and Brixton today.

As the lower picture shows the Crows take their role as refuse recyclers very seriously, assiduously applying many crow-generations of knowledge and experience transmitted from old crow to younger. The Crow is an adept at survival and success in habitat heavily altered by humans. The “carrion” in their name is far more colorful than currently apropos, “Refuse Crow” closer to reality.
The Hooded Crow is currently considered a race of the Carrion Crow. In the Hoodeds the markings are clearly delineated with pale shoulders and front parts setting off the black head. The Hooded Crow is found on the periphery of Europe, e.g. Scotland and Greece.
The Moorhens here are amazingly tame compared to the relatively shy Common Gallinules that resemble them in our American marshes. The European Coot is nearly double the size of our American species but remarkably similar in plumage and voice.

The last three: Blue Tit, European Robin, “Great” Spotted Woodpecker.

There is a section of the Natural History Museum (as if there could be only one such museum anywhere) that has for me what Edgar Allen Poe recognized as the “fascination of the abomination.” The room contains the case wherein stand the dead and gone. Not just the Dodos seen above and extinct for over three centuries (thanks to conquering navies from Europe).

The Great Auk was flightless but did survive long enough for Audubon to see it in Canada in the mid-1840s.
The Imperial Woodpecker of Mexico was the world’s largest and survived until my lifetime, but you and I will never see a live one.
Brockwell Park, London, GB-ENG. Oct 23, 2012 1:30 PM. 19 species

Mute Swan 1
Mallard 40
Tufted Duck 1
Eurasian Moorhen 25
Eurasian Coot 11
Black-headed Gull 30
Rock Pigeon 60
Common Wood-Pigeon 25
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 (not so great, quite modest in size actually)
Rose-ringed Parakeet 4
Eurasian Jay 1
Eurasian Magpie 2
Carrion Crow 50
Great Tit 1
Long-tailed Tit 8
European Robin 3
Eurasian Blackbird 1
European Starling 12
European Goldfinch 1

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