Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Many thanks to all the readers who have provided pictures while I've been stuck at home waiting for my ankle to mend. I've now put an email address in the right-hand column for people who would like to send in pictures. Here are some more, beginning with images from the park.

Fran sent this beautiful study of a female Mallard preening.

Three pictures by Virginia: a Mute Swan taking off from the Serpentine ...

... a skein of Greylag Geese flying over ...

... and a remarkable shot of a Grey Heron eating a rat in the Dell.

The park herons eat quite a lot of rats. You can often see them peering into bushes and flower beds in a way that seems strange for a water bird. That's what they're after.

David Element photographed two Starlings bathing in the Round Pond.

This is one of the Nuthatches in the leaf yard, in a picture by Achmet Amerikali. With persistence and luck you might get one to feed off your hand -- see yesterday's blog post.

Dave Dunn captured the Little Owl near the Albert Memorial looking out of her hole in the oak tree.

The first-winter Black-Headed Gull from Lithuania, ring number HA43432, can often be seen hanging around near the Dell restaurant. This picture was taken by me when it arrived in the autumn.

Another photograph from Los Barruecos by Tinúviel: Crested Larks on one of the large granite boulders called bolos that are a feature of this area.

A video shot by Justyna C. in Krakow, Poland, where they still have House Sparrows -- in contrast to their sad absence in central London. This sparrow eating an apple easily saw off a rival, but was disturbed by a bee.

Justyna also sent this pleasing picture of Common Redpolls clustered on a fence in Krakow.

Now to range farther afield: David Holland took these fine photographs near Cali in Colombia.

This beautiful bird is a Great Kiskadee, Pitangu sulphuratus.

These are Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks, formerly known as Black-Bellied Tree Ducks, Dendrocygna autumnalis.

Which reminds me that, in a comment on yesterday's blog post, Jim mentioned an attempt to give the Egyptian Goose (which is neither specifically Egyptian nor a proper goose) a more sensible name, 'Great African Tree Duck'. It doesn't exactly trip off the tongue.


  1. Dendronetta Libyca! (I don't know how to fit the "great" in).

    I love the cluster of Redpolls. I have never seen one in real life, but they are so pretty.

    Poor rat. It had it coming, and for that we should thank the Heron, but one cannot help but wince.

    1. 'Dendronetta' makes this hulking noisy invader sound like a delicate little warbler. Ἀεὶ Λιβύη φέρει τι κακόν.

    2. That's what you get when you get birds that cut their metaphorical teeth among crocodiles, I guess...

      Let me try again: Teratonetta invadens. That sounds more like a proper dinosaur.

    3. Ex Africa semper aliquid novi, surely? Very sorry to hear about your ankle, Ralph, and trust you will be rapidly restored to being properly καλλίσφυρος.

    4. κακόν in the older version of the proverb, καινόν in a newer and politer one.

      Teratonetta invadens sounds like the Demon Duck of Doom excavated in Australia -- see Wikipedia under Bullockornis.

    5. And I thought Shoebill Storks were scary...

      Demon Duck of Doom sounds like the perfect vernacular name for the Egyptians, too. Doubt the Bullockornithes are in any position to complain. Any takers?

    6. Not as scary as the 3 metere tall 400 kg Aepyornis, though.

  2. Watched a heron with a rat once in Newry Canal, it drowned it before eating it.

  3. Just to say it should be Kiskadee . Fabulous birds I remember seeing in Florida.

  4. @Conehead54
    Thanks for the correction it was my fault in sending the wrong spelling to Ralph.

    They are very common in Colombia but well worth photographing
    David Holland