Monday, 15 January 2018

A Starling was finding plenty of wireworms in the grass near the Serpentine Gallery. A Magpie saw this and slammed down on the spot to take the wireworms for itself.

The pair of Mistle Thrushes who nest near here flew by, rattling loudly, and landed in a tree.

The Robin at the corner of the leaf yard perched on a bramble under an oak, perfectly matching a fallen leaf.

Beside the Long Water at the foot of Buck Hill, another Robin ticked irritably. The cause of its annoyance was a group of Rose-Ringed Parakeets in its tree.

A small flock of tits flew past, led as usual by Long-Tailed Tits which are always the leaders of these mixed flocks.

The female Little Owl poked her head out of the lime tree for a short while, but disliked the drizzle and went back in.

A Jay took a very careful look around before flying into the open. There have been Sparrowhawks, Kestrels and Peregrines over this spot.

One of the Peregrines was back on the barracks tower. It flew out and returned to the ledge.

Now that the crowds around the funfair have gone, the pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull has returned to his usual beat near the Dell restaurant.

The second pigeon eater was also back in his usual place at the Triangle car park, after a fortnight's absence.

The two Grey Heron nests were occupied. One of the two birds not in the nests stood on the solar panel roof of the electric boat.

A pair of Mute Swans charged down the Serpentine and hauled themselves into the air.

The dominant swans on the Long Water had chased all the others away under the bridge, and retired to the top of the lake to relax and preen.

But when I went past again an hour later, the intruding swans were creeping back. Keeping a whole lake clear is a full-time occupation.


  1. I don't know whether swans are very persistent, very stubborn, or very foolish. I don't know who'd have the upper hand in a stubborness competition, coots or swans.

    I don't think I've seen a befuddled magpie before. It appears to be wondering where all the tasty worms have gone.

    Robins continue to be lovely even when ticking in anger. And they have great fashion sense.

    I have been amusing myself the greater part of the evening thinking this particularly obstreperous individual could be our Black Swan:

    But then it looks like a male. Sad face.

    1. BTW (please note, reader discretion adviced):

      If you scroll down the entry, someone caught a yellow legged gull's pigeon-killing technique on camera. I've seen this before, they kill by brute force, not by drowning their prey. There's also a small clip of a young Herring Gull playing with a new toy, which seems to suggest it is inveterate behaviour in this species?

    2. Thanks for the wonderful clip of the angry Black Swan. It actually made the men lose their oar, and if they had been farther out in deeper water they would have been stuck.

      Interesting about the Yellow-Legged Gull. I suppose all gulls that turn predatory have to make up their own methods. Our own Lesser Black-Back has changed both his hunting and his killing technique over the more than ten years I've been watching him.

      All gulls play when with inedible objects when young, I think. It's a necessary stage in learning to be a kleptoparasite. I only see young Herring Gulls and Black-Headed Gulls doing it because these are the commonest species on the lake.

  2. Thank you for 'HMS Unaffordable'.

    1. Always surprised when people look at file names. But it really is an excessive vessel for a not very large lake. The original idea was to ferry people across the Serpentine for £5 but, since you can cross the bridge or go round the end in a few minutes, there were few takers. Since then it's been sitting there burning money for maintenance. The stainless steel hull was attacked by bacteria that secreted acid and started small leaks which had to be welded, and it needed its special curved solar panels replaced. It does occasionally carry paying groups on jaunts around the lake in summer.

    2. Interesting. By the way, not so much looking at the file names, but occasionally I 'save' a photo I particularly like, and then the file name shows.