Saturday, 10 February 2018

A dim drizzly day kept the Little Owls in their holes. Paul had been out with binoculars looking for the Tawny Owls which are certainly near the Diana memorial playground, but they remain elusive.

The usual birds were about their business. The Robin on the bush in the Rose Garden was getting the last seeds out of the feeder with some difficulty, as its feet aren't strong enough for a firm grip on the perch and it has to flutter to stay in place.

When another Robin landed on the twig next to it, the two tolerated each other for ten seconds before the new arrival had to flee. It looks as if the two are mates gradually thawing out of their winter separation and hostility.

A Blue Tit waited for its turn at the feeder ...

... and a Dunnock hopped around underneath, picking up the spillage.

Wood Pigeons were ripping off the leaf buds in the next bush.

A Long-Tailed Tit hung upside down from a twig.

This is one of the Wrens in the Flower Walk, foraging in the flower bed.

On the Serpentine, a young Herring Gull was playing with a large seed ...

... dropping it in the water from a height and diving to retrieve it.

A few feet away several young Black-Headed Gulls were also diving into the water, though they didn't seem to have any toys and it was not clear whether they were feeding or playing, or just imitating the Herring Gull.

A Great Crested Grebe dozed under the willow tree near the bridge.

Some Shovellers were feeding at the Vista. The little yellow eyes of the drakes give them a suspicious, resentful look, as if they think you are laughing at their enormous bills.

It reminds me of Edward Lear's limerick,

            There was an Old Man with a nose,
            Who said, 'If you choose to suppose
                 That my nose is too long,
                 You are certainly wrong!'
            That remarkable Man with a nose.

As a change from today's grey pictures, here is a fine shot by Paul of a male Kestrel in Richmond Park.

No videos from today, as  the video camera isn't waterproof. So here is a video I found on YouTube of a man in Chennai (which used to be called Madras) who makes the parakeet feeders of Kensington Gardens look like the merest amateurs.


  1. Feeding birds or any wildlife may vary in each situation as to whether or not it is a kindness. For many years I left out seed for our native quail, but stopped doing so after I saw accipiters routinely carrying off the quail. It is complicated sometimes.

    1. Probably the arrival of the Peregrines on the barracks tower is linked to silly people feeding Feral Pigeons on the edge of the Serpentine, which is also where the pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull hunts.

  2. Yes, that's the recommendation given here by conservationists as well. Sometimes setting up feeders may be a trap for small birds.

    Are the two Robins a couple? I didn't know that they were hostile to each other during winter.

    I see your Parakeet Man and I raise you a Vulture Man:

    1. Yes, Robin pairs separate and defend separate territories in winter.

      Amazed by Vulture Man. Vultures are both useful and endangered, so one has to approve overall.

  3. A couple of days ago a man was trying to feed the small birds at the leaf yard and the parakeets flew in and settled on the branches. The small birds flew off and he rewarded the parakeets with the food he’d brought. Today as I was passing I investigated the starlings’ nest hole near the boat houses where I'd recently seen parakeets being fed - and a parakeet flew out. On the whole feeding parakeets looks to be more a self-indulgence than a kindness.

    1. Yes, I agree. I am not sure what will happen to the Starlings' nests in those two small plane trees. But I think that some of the holes are too small for parakeets to use.