Friday, 12 January 2018

It was a dark day and there was not much to see, but at least the Little Owl near the Henry Moore sculpture was out in her lime tree.

There are a lot of hungry Robins on the east side of the Long Water.

A Jay in the branches above was also waiting for food.

The Carrion Crows that were hanging around the Winter Wasteland have moved out as the site is dismantled, and are in and around the Dell. Here is one in the peculiar weeping beech tree between the Dell and the Rose Garden.

The two pairs of Grey Herons on the island have built up their nests considerably in preparation for breeding.

Let's hope they don't overdo it this year. Last year a nest got so big that it broke the branch it was on and collapsed.

A little group of Red-Crested Pochards wandered about on the ground below.

This pair of Great Crested Grebes are in completely different plumage, the one on the left in plain winter monochrome, the other already in full breeding finery. They look like different species, but in a month or so they will look almost identical.

This Black-Headed Gull in the Italian Garden fountain seems to be picking up tiny water creatures such as Daphnia, perhaps brought to the surface by the disturbance from the diving Tufted Ducks.

An Egyptian Goose had a vigorous wash and flap just above the rapids in the Diana memorial fountain.

Last year's Mute Swan cygnets are now completely estranged from their parents and are going around in a teenage gang. They are at the bottom of the pecking order, and when the breeding season starts and the adults get more aggressive, some may be driven off the lake and end up on the Round Pond, home of low-status swans.

The pale Egyptian Goose was missing from the Round Pond. A goose that is almost certainly the same one was seen at the Wetland Centre in Barnes today.

I went to St James's Park to see the escaped Harris Hawk, which was in a tree on the Birdcage Walk side of the park, a short way north of the street leading from the Underground station.

It was being harassed by a Carrion Crow which didn't dare get within thge reach of this formidable raptor, but still managed to drive it out of the tree. Sorry about the dark image -- it was a very dim day.

There was a female Chaffinch in a nearby tree. These once common birds are as rare in St James's Park as they are in Hyde Park.

The flock of eight Black Swans has formed at least three pairs. Here is a pair preening together and pulling up plants to make a nest -- something they do long before they have any real intention of nesting. Neither of them is the one who came from Hyde Patk.


  1. Do you get Teal in the winter? They continue to elude me! My local lake boasted 40 Lapwings who kindly turned up on my birthday, but luck yet.

    1. We had just one Teal last winter. They are only occasional visitors. The opening of the Wetland Centre seems to have drawn away the rarer ducks we used to get.

  2. How long has the Harris Hawk been present? Remember finding one in the road next to me a few years ago.

    1. It was first noticed about a week ago, I think.

  3. How is our Black Swan doing, by the way? Have you seen her? (I think it was finally established that she was a female, right?)

    Poor robins look very hungry and very nervous.

    The gall on that Crow... their penchant for mischief is stronger than their common sense not to disturb a large dangerous raptor.

    1. I did see our Black Swan, with her mate, but she was far off and not doing anything interesting so I used the video of another pair.

      I don't think you could describe the Robin at the end of that clip as nervous. It positively owns my hand now.