Monday, 24 October 2016

Rose-Ringed Parakeets may now be common, but their behaviour is often interesting. Three of them were on a gas lamp post on the edge of the Dell. The glass of all these lamps has been newly cleaned, and the birds were staring at their reduced reflection in the convex glass. These intelligent birds may have actually recognised that the reflection was of themselves, and its smaller size made it particularly interesting.


Behind them in the Dell, several parakeets were in an arbutus tree, There were ripe 'strawberries' on the tree, and they are edible -- people sometimes make boring tasteless jam with them. However, the birds preferred the flowers which this odd tree bears at the same time as its fruit.


Over Buck Hill, a flock of Parakeets was mobbing a Herring Gull. The chase went on for several minutes.


The rowan trees on Buck Hill were doing brisk business, with several Mistle Thrushes ...


... and Blackbirds eating the berries.


In a hawthorn at the foot of the hill, a Blue Tit was waiting to be fed.


The days when Jackdaws fled at your approach are long gone. Now they come out in front of you and stare at you with their beautiful silvery eyes until you give them a peanut.


The female Little Owl called from a big oak tree at the southwest corner of the leaf yard.


Regular visitors to the park will know this tree as the one where you often see Treecreepers.

Two Mute Swans on the Serpentine were giving a display of synchronised flying.


A female Shoveller came over to the edge of the Vista.


A young Black-Headed Gull was playing with a mineral water bottle which had fallen off the balcony of the Dell restaurant.


Two adults on the edge of the Serpentine were trying to dominate each other.


Sorry that the picture below is bad. The Black-Headed Gull flew away immediately and I could only get two pictures of it among a crowd of Feral Pigeons. But its colour ring shows it to be from Germany.


Looking it up on the ring reporting site showed that it was from Itzehoe in Schleswig-Holstein, near the Danish border, a town immortalised in the old song about Dr Eisenbarth, who killed all his patients and boasted triumphantly that he had remedied their pain.
Der Schulmeister von Itzehoe
     Wide wide witt bumm bumm.
Litt dreißig Jahr an Diarrhöe,
     Wide wide witt bumm bumm.
Ich gab ihm cremor tart'ri ein,
     Wide wide witt juchhairassa,
Er ging zu seinen Vätern ein,
     Wide wide witt bumm bumm!

My translation:

The schoolmaster of Itzehoe
     Vidda vidda vit, boom boom.
For thirty years had diarrhoea,
     Vidda vidda vit, boom boom.
A cream of tartar enema,
      Vidda vidda vit, and tra la la,
And now he's gone to meet his Pa.
      Vidda vidda vit, boom boom.

19 comments:

  1. Hello Ralph,

    my partner sent you a photo of the badly injured grelayg goose covered in blood. A dog attack most likely. He had to be put down. He had a nasty bite on his head and skin on leg came off. This morning when we got in there was a large pile of white swan feathers on the Lido hill. This may not be connected but sadly there will be more attacks on birds as light is now dwindling.

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    1. Thanks, I've just answered him. The problem of irresponsible dog owners is a grave one, and it's hard to know how to control obstinate and deluded people. But I am sure that the attack on the swan was by a fox, because there were signs that it had been partly eaten before the gardeners tidied the scene up.

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    2. Omg I wonder whether it was the one in your blog that was begging food at the Lido restaurant?

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  2. That is sad, he was just hungry. But surely he would not venture out there in the middle of the night when people are not around but it is a small swan by the looks of it. I know it is nature but sad regardless.

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  3. Oh God, has yesterday's Swan died? Poor, por thing!

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    1. We don't know. But it may have been that swan, and perhaps it was resting on the grassy bank at the back of the Lido swimming area, which appears secluded and safe but in fact is open to any passing fox going round the lake. This is also the place where the goose with balance problems met its end.

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    2. Yes I remmeber the hybrid. He died last year but he literally was on his last legs:/

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  4. Sadly not much can be done about foxes as they are feral, but the dog badly injuring the grelayg is unacceptable. The photo has been posted in Ralph's Saturday blog. I obtained this pic from a lady who comes to look after the swans. It happened last week and there were bunch of people taking photos of the poor greylag but no one helped, she waved down a police car, and they rang up Malcolm who turned up and picked him up. I doubt he is in a santuary, probably had to be put down. He also had a bloodied belly.
    I wonder if I ever witness similar shall I just dial 101? I really have no desire to even talk to these vile excuses for human beings, just ring the police asap and let them deal with it.

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    1. Probably the best course of action. I don't know if in the Isles things are so badly as over here, but in most cases public remonstrance over something as banal as littering usually meets not with repentance of sheep-facedness but with defiance, and sometimes agression or abuse. Let the police deal with them.

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    2. It's a 999 matter if there are offender(s) still in the area who can be caught. "Permitting your dog to chase, injure or kill any form of wildlife is an offence [criminal] under The Royal Parks Regulations". Re the swan, it is sadly also possible such a bird could be killed or badly injured by dog(s) before being part eaten by a fox. Jim

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  5. Not a bad rendering of Dr. Eisenbarth, if I may say so. Have not thought of that one for approx. 50 years... (even vaguely recall the melody for it)

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    1. Thank you. The original German lyrics are here.
      If you click the link marked 'Melodie', theoretically the tune plays online, but this didn't work in three different browsers and I had to download the file, Dr_Eisentbart.mid. If asked what you want to open this MIDI file with, choose Windows Media Player.
      Score of tune here.

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    2. My translation of some verses of this long song:

      I am good Doctor Eisenbart;
      Vidda vidda vit, boom boom.
      I'll cure you with my secret art.
      Vidda vidda vit, boom boom.
      I'll make the blind man walk again,
      Vidda vidda vit, and tra la la,
      And make the lame see clear and plain,
      Vidda vidda vit, boom boom.

      At Potsdam once I undertook
      Trepanning Emperor Frederick's cook.
      I sank my axe into his head;
      The silly bugger fell down dead.

      The schoolmaster of Itzehoe
      For thirty years had diarrhoea;
      A cream of tartar enema,
      And now he's gone to meet his Pa.

      An aged farmer came in tears,
      Who hadn't slept for many years.
      I brought him soon to sweet repose,
      From which the patient never rose.

      And in Vienna -- it's the truth --
      A man came with an aching tooth.
      I took my gun and shot it out;
      He's happy now, there is no doubt.

      My masterpiece, a stroke of luck,
      I carried out in Osnabrück.
      A gouty gaffer came to me;
      I sawed his legs off at the knee.

      Oh, cheap is my relief from pain,
      Vidda vidda vit, boom boom.
      For no one needs to come again.
      Vidda vidda vit, boom boom.
      There's no repeated bills to pay:
      Vidda vidda vit, and tra la la,
      I'll cure you in a single day,
      Vidda vidda vit, boom boom.

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    3. incidentally, when I clicked on the german version today, even more verses were shown; when I looked again, there were only the 7 , like yesterday. I think that website is wonky.

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    4. Yes, it really does seem to be pretty wonky, so I've put my own copies on my own site.
      For the words, as a plain text file, click here.
      For the music, as a universally playable MP3 file, click here.

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  6. @Jim...I would not be surprised with your theory either. A dog could have killed it at 9pm at night then fox finished it off at 3am...as Ralph says, we don't know but I do believe they sometimes carry out autopsies, especially on swans.

    It feels to me that a fox would struggle to kill a standard size healthy swan. Maybe injure it but kill it?

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  7. In re (parakeets) and animal self-awareness: the topic is covered in a recent book by Frans de Waal, 'Are we Smart Enough to Know how Smart Animals Are?". Horrible title, but well-reviewed at www.theguardian.com/books/2016/oct/06/are-we-smart-enough-to-know-how-smart-animals-are-frans-de-waal-review . Included in the list of palpably self-aware animals is "a particularly smart magpie called Gertie".

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    1. Thanks. Will see if I can dig out a copy.

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