Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The young Grey Wagtail was running along the shore at the Lido.

I haven't seen its parents for several months, but they fly all round the lake and the Dell and may be anywhere.

This wagtail, although much greyer, is a young Pied Wagtail. The flock had moved across the Parade Ground to the trampled grass near the bandstand.

One of the pair of Song Thrushes in the Flower Walk was eating yew berries.

Their quick digestive processes don't reach the poisonous interior of the seed in the berry, so that the bird is unharmed and the seed passes out to germinate. Mammals, with slower and more thorough digestion, might be poisoned if they ate these berries.

On the north shore of the Serpentine, two groups of Greylags were yelling at each other, and some of them actually came to blows.

I don't know what had annoyed these usually peaceable birds at a quiet time of year.

A young Herring Gull was eating a pigeon at the Dell restaurant.

I am watching the big gulls here to see if any of them is picking up the habit of hunting pigeons from the notorious pair of Lesser Black-Backs, but so far when other gulls have been eating pigeons it seems likely that they are the pair's leftovers. You can see that there is not much left on the carcase.

A Mute Swan on the Serpentine was shredding a plastic bag. As far as I could see, there was nothing in the bag, not even a few breadcrumbs. Maybe he was just working off  his temper.

A Great Crested Grebe being chased by a persistent chick was also showing signs of impatience.

This is one of the large band of migrant Pochards on the east side of the Long Water. He is under the willow tree near the bridge.


  1. Hello Ralph,
    Last summer we saw a pair of yellow-legged gulls chase, take down and kill a feral pigeon in a beach in Galicia. They seemed to know very well what they were doing.

    1. Did they drown the pigeon? That's what the gulls here do. But ours hunt singly, or at least I've never seen the pair hunting together.

  2. They ran it to the ground and pecked at the poor thing to death. It was deeply unpleasant to watch. It happened on a wet stripe of sand, relatively away from the actual waterline. It was quite unexpected, and it was some seconds before we could make out what was actually happening. Two gulls singled out a pigeon out of the small flock that was foraging for food scraps in the sand, gave it chase, and eventually ran it to the ground. At the beginning we thought that perhaps they wanted to steal something from the pigeon, as they were both in hot pursuit, but once they got the poor thing on the ground, their intentions became crystal clear. It was just one of the gulls that carried out the actual killing, though. The other gull just stood there. We had never seen anything like that before.

    1. I've never seen anything like this either. But something tells me I shall, as gulls are very good at sharing information on how to get food, and spread it on their wide travels.