Thursday, 18 January 2018

A sight of the female Little Owl at the Albert Memorial preening started the day well.

But after that there was not much exciting to see. The cold morning made the Great Tits ...

... and Blue Tits ...

at the leaf yard very hungry, and they flew down in mobs to my hand.

Long-Tailed Tits have no dealings with humans.

There are more and more Jackdaws at the leaf yard, perhaps drawn by people feeding the Rose-Ringed Parakeets. They are getting bolder, and now stand in your way and stare at you till you give them a peanut.

At the Vista a Black-Headed Gull found a whole peanut in the shell (not provided by me) and carried it off, only to be chased by a Coot. Neither of them could have eaten it. Only the larger gulls have the strength to crush the shell in their bill. They can't hold it down and peck it open because their small feet don't much grip.

More Black-Headed Gulls beside the Serpentine: a very similar display is used both between mates and to dominate rivals, and you can't tell the difference until one gull chases the other away, making it clear that it's rivalry.

Like most ducks, Mallards bob their heads as an invitation to mating. The female politely copied the drake but wasn't interested in mating, which is no fun at all for a female Mallard, so she swam away.

I went on towards the Round Pond. On the way there were two Redwings in a tree, allowing quite a close shot.

When the Winter Wasteland is finally dismantled there should be flocks of Redwings looking for worms in the ruined grass, and some Fieldfares and other thrushes. But you can't get at all close to them there, and even a big lens produces mediocre pictures.

On the Round Pond, the sunshine brought out the green iridescence of the head of a Shoveller drake ...

... and the secondaries of an Egyptian Goose.

At Kensington Palace the lawn in front of the Orangery, with its avenue of holly trees, is being ripped up and replaced by a formal parterre which is supposed to copy the design of Charles Bridgeman, who remodelled Kensington Gardens for Queen Caroline, wife of George II. A lot of concrete was being laid, and it looked as if the result would not be at all bird friendly. They have also ripped out the shrubbery behind the Orangery. It's an endless story of habitat loss.

However, a Wren at the foot of the Orangery steps was unconcerned, and looked for insects behind a trailing electric cable.

Yesterday Tom went to Regent's Park and got a picture of the Water Rail which has been there for a while. It was in the reeds on the edge of the lake between the two little wooden bridges.


  1. Mobbed by cheeky Blue and Great Tits, detained by imperious Jackdaws, assaulted by fearless Robins - I can think of worse fates!

    Lovely to see the Little Owl today.

    1. I wasn't complaining. But it is often hard to find striking incidents to record in a daily blog.

    2. I hope I won't sound too fawning (although I do confess to a bit of cheerleading), but I think what keeps us coming back is not only the pictures and videos, wonderful and well-judged as they always are, but your own commentary. Even the most mundane event, the most nondescript or common bird, has something of interest when seen through your lens and your words.

    3. Thank you for your kind words.

    4. Well put Tinuviel - I’ll second that!

    5. Tinuviel you are quite right. THe blog is so entrancing. i cannot miss a day without it!