Tuesday, 2 January 2018

The rain didn't bother the white Mallard ...

... but a Blue Tit in the Rose Garden got very bedraggled.

Fortunately it was next to the feeder. Birds are like little furnaces, can stand the cold and the wet as long as they have plenty of fuel.

The absence of people brought out birds that are not usually seen in the Rose Garden, such as a Pied Wagtail ...

... and a Green Woodpecker.

Two Robins got dangerously close to each other, but fortunately the subordinate one flew away before a fight broke out.

A Magpie bathed in the fountain ...

... and preened on the head of the goddess Diana.

A Great Black-Backed Gull posed grandly on the moored pedalos in the middle of the Serpentine.

A Carrion Crow dared to approach the pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull to snatch a few shreds of his prey. The gull's rather casual response was probably due to his having eaten most of a large Feral Pigeon already, and not being hungry any longer.

A Cormorant was still trying to find fish in the fished-out pools in the Italian Garden. After an unsuccessful exploration of the four fountains it tried to dry its wings. The heavy rain had ended, but it was still drizzling.

The Grey Heron at the Dell restaurant was looking for fish among the dead leaves at the edge of the lake.

One of the herons on the island was picking twigs to improve its nest.

The Peregrine was back on the tower of the Household Cavalry barracks.

The female Little Owl near the Albert Memorial was barely visible in the gloom ...

But the one near the Henry Moore scultpture was showing fairly well outside her hole in the lime tree.


  1. Lovely picture of the Mexican stand-off, Robin style. So pretty, so small, and yet so belligerent.

    I'm not sure that Crow knows what it's getting itself into. I don't know what would have happened had the Gull been its usual 'charming' self. I've seen clips of crows and ravens pulling Bald Eagles' tail feathers though.

    I think that was the first GBB we've had in the blog this winter?

    1. Yes, the last Great Black-Backed Gull we had was on 19 January last year. It was a first-winter one, so not the same as this bird. We seem to get them completely at random. I suppose a few come up the river, and one or two of them decide to have a look around.

    2. Do they come from the sea? A few of them have been seen lording it out in landfills and terrorizing the native population even in the hinterland here, about 400 miles away from the nearest coastline.

      If they do ever get around to changing their scientific name, they ought to call them Tyrannolarus somatophylax (I've always been reminded of ginormous aggressive vacant-stared door bouncers whenever I see these gulls).

  2. Walking along the Sepentine Road at dusk today I was transfixed by a murmuration of black-headed gulls over the lake. Like a starling murmuration it just went on and on and in that same mesmerising way. I had to tear myself away before seeing where they landed but I assume on the lake and not the land. Do you know if this is a regular feature of gulls on the Serpentine and I just need to turn up at dusk to see it?

    1. I've also seen this recently earlier in the afternoon, around 2 pm. I wondered whether they were gathering to circle in the last thermal of the day to gain height before going off to spend the night somewhere.

    2. It was different from the usual flocking where they circle and weave around one another in flight. The mass moved as one just like starlings - swooping down to the lake, swerving. ascending steeply, breaking into different groups and gracefully joining up again.