Thursday, 27 November 2014

The male Little Owl was in the pair's nest tree, but he had had to move away from his usual spot because he was being eyed by a Carrion Crow straight in front of it.

I went round the side to get a picture of him from a different angle, and his big yellow eyes followed me suspiciously.

The male Tawny Owl was in his usual spot on top of the horse chestnut tree, but I couldn't find his mate.

The two Coal Tits in the leaf yard are definitely interested in being fed, but have not yet dared to come down to my hand.

It is difficult for these very small birds, as they have to keep out of the way of the larger Great and Blue Tits which are coming down in droves. But what they lack in boldness they make up in persistence, and keep coming back to take pine nuts from the railings. They store these in cracks in the bark of trees, hoping that the larger tits don't notice and steal them.

The young Grey Wagtail was running along the shore of the Serpentine.

There are at least two Grey Wagtails in the park, as I have distantly seen them together, but the one that appears always seems to be this young one, less yellow than an adult and lacking the adult's black bib.

A Herring Gull in the enclosure of the Diana fountain was doing the worm dance, pattering its feet on the ground to imitate raindrops and thus bring up worms. It works very well.

The two Egyptian Geese that are so hopeless at parenting have been together near the Henry Moore statue for several days, displaying at each other and probably planning another doomed brood at completely the wrong time of year. They are also the first two Egyptians to have arrived in the park ten years ago. During this time they have not managed to rear a single chick. Other Egyptians have been far more successful, and now you can find them in the most exclusive places.

The wasp nest near the bridge has been broken open, perhaps by a Magpie trying to extract the grubs. The removal of its front shows the storeys of cells inside. It is a most remarkable construction, all made out of papier mâché by the industrious insects.


  1. It's curious that it's Lesser Black-Backs that have taken to preying on pigeons even though Herring Gulls are larger on average and seemingly more aggressive in stealing food (seaside towns). And they are two ends of a ring superspecies. Near me in north London LBBs have become the local 'kites' and Herrings seem more vermivorous. Is there any good way to sum up the behavioural differences between the species? Jim n.L.

  2. There is now also a Lesser Black-Back in St James's Park that is killing pigeons, next to the bridge over the lake. But I think that the fact that all three killers are LBBs is a matter of chance, and the Herring Gulls will join in soon.

    1. Oh dear, bad enough they had the pelicans and assorted raptors after them already and were banished from Trafalgar Square. Are they in danger of 'doing a Passenger Pigeon' in certain locations as happened to House Sparrows and Bullfinches? Jim

    2. I doubt it. (But that was what they said about the Passenger Pigeon.)