Monday 10 December 2012

The winter plantings of the gardeners have left patches of newly tilled bare earth, attracting Robins to see what has been turned up. There were four of them in the shrubbery on the north side of the Serpentine next to the bridge while the gardeners worked.

A Wren was also investigating busily. They are too small to eat earthworms, and hunt insects and spiders.

A small flock of eight Redwings flew over the Peter Pan statue. Conditions in the park are not good for them at the moment, since their favourite places are the archery field near Kensington Park Gardens and the grass to the west of the Albert Memorial. But both these places are being resurfaced, and the usual worms and other small creatures have not had a chance to recolonise them. These winter visitors like open grassy areas but are very shy of people and will not stay if you go anywhere near them. You are more likely to see Redwings on the lawn in a London square, lookingthrough the railings which reassure the birds that you are not going to rush in and frighten them. I have seen more than 200 feeding on the cricket pitch in Burton's Court beside the Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea.

This picture of a Grey Heron standing in its usual place among the reeds in the Dell shows how well this large and normally conspicuous bird is camouflaged when it's in its normal habitat -- though obviously it could not fade into the reeds completely like its relative the Bittern, which is brown and striped and stands in a completely vertical position with its beak pointed straight up. The long untidy streamers on the heron's front both break up its outline and match the look of the reeds.

More Shovellers have arrived and the total on the lake and the Round Pond is now about 30. Here on the Round Pond a small group of males spins and shovels in the evening light.

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