Thursday, 11 January 2018

A flock of Goldfinches twittered in the trees near the Queen's Temple.

Some of them were on the ground, which is unusual.

It was only when I looked at the photograph later that I saw they were eating fallen alder fruit, easier to peck on the ground that on a tree.

When Blue Tits eat pine nuts, they hold them firmly on a twig with their strong feet, and take little bites out of them ...

... which they clearly relish.

The Coal Tit in the leaf yard is still very shy, and didn't even dare to come down and take food from the railings.

The Robin on the far side of the Long Water is not shy at all, and positively challenges you to feed it.

However, it flew to my hand at exactly the same moment as another Robin flew in from the other side, and there were screams of fury as both retreated. Then they did exactly the same thing again. But the Robin shown above is dominant, and took several pine nuts and departed at its leisure before the other one could come back.

A bit farther along the path, a Wren gave me an equally severe stare from a bramble.

There are Goldcrests all round the Long Water, as well as several in the Rose Garden where this one was hopping around in a cedar tree.

The female Little Owl near the Henry Moore sculpture looked down from her lime tree.

And the owl near the Albert Memorial was in her hole in the oak.

A bathing pigeon wasn't bothered by the icy water of the Serpentine.

The isabel Egyptian Goose at the Round Pond out-blonded the pale male Egyptian, who had flown up from the Serpentine. There is no hint of a romance, as he already has a mate.

A Moorhen titvated its feathers in a flower bed beside the Lido.

This is one of the rafts that used to be at the east end of the Serpentine until, inadequately moored, it was blown away and eneded up next to the island. Further strong winds somehow manage to blow it on a semicircular path around the island, and it is now at the west end. Mute Swans have occupied it and almost completely destroyed the plants.

This is what it looked like only six days ago, shortly after it arrived in its present place but seen from the other side of the Serpentine.

It's good news for the swans, of course.They are always anxious for a place to nest. But, as a result of poor anchoring with small bags of stones, and fences not strong enough to resist swans, these very expensive rafts have been turned from decorative features into eyesores. This could easily have been prevented by a bit of work, but the park management tends to install things and then forget about them for ever.


  1. Thank you for showing me the pale Egyptian goose on Tuesday. Where's the Queen's temple?

    1. It's the small classical sandstone building with three open arched doorways on the west side of the Long Water between the bridge and the Vista. The queen is Caroline, wife of George II.

  2. Swans are very good at destroying, it seems. They lack a Coot's discriminating taste for nest arrangement and decoration.

    Oddly enough, it is quite frequent to see here bands of Goldfinches foraging on the ground in spring time. In winter time one must content oneself with hearing their lovely chatter tittering down from the tree branches.

    What does a Robin's scream of fury sound like? The usual tec-tec, only on steroids?

    1. It was an actual screech, hard to describe.

  3. How is the coot situation in the park, incidentally? They have been strangely absent from Golders Hill Park of late, which is positively teeming with moorhens though. Wonder if the coots couldn't stick one of the stagnant water spells there. Jim

    1. Numbers continue to increase alarmingly, and there were over 300 at the last count.

    2. Yep. Coots have it all ready for world domination. Not going to complain.