Dave Dawson’s natural history notes for 2nd November:-
Black-headed Gulls are now back to their usual winter peak numbers of around 140 birds. They return in two stages, with small numbers arriving back in early July, but most in October. Perhaps the early birds are local breeders and the main influx is from north-east Europe? Coot numbers also peak in winter, but unprecedently high Coot numbers were on the Lake in September and October this year. The October count was 230, whereas no count in the previous 30 years has topped 90. The Mute Swan count was also a record 25 birds this October, the previous high being 13 birds last year. Before, there were just the resident pair and their young, but the Lake is now attracting a winter flock of birds, perhaps families from elsewhere or subadult birds coming once our local pair’s defence is lowered. There were four Little Grebes in October, one of which was a young bird, another record count. I also had the first-ever sighting of a Weasel near the café in September. Both Stoats and Weasels are widespread, but uncommonly seen, in London. Autumn leaf-fall is now in full swing. The best colour (now largely on the ground) is the bronze red Scarlet Oak at the corner of the peripheral path by the small play area.