Tuesday 29 January 2013

A Grey Heron was standing in last year's nest on the Serpentine island  occasionally pulling twigs off nearby branches to rebuild it.

There was no other heron with it. Perhaps the instinctive urge to maintain a nest is irresistible, even outside the nesting season, so when the heron happened to stand in the nest it just had to repair it. Nevertheless, a few weeks ago I saw a Grey Heron far from the nest, beside the Serpentine bridge,  tearing twigs off the waterside bushes in a purposeful way.

On of the Great Black-Backed Gulls was standing on a post near the Peter Pan statue, dwarfing the Black-Headed Gull on the next post.

All three are still here, and have evidently decided to spend the rest of the winter in the park; there are more than enough pigeons to eat. The smaller gull is not the familiar one-legged gull, which is missing its right leg. It may have two perfectly good legs and have folded one of them up.

The Bearded Tits are in their reed bed as usual, busily eating Phragmites seeds. These can't be very nutritious: the plant is a kind of grass and its fat content would be low, and also every time they take a seed they get a beakful of fluff along with it. No wonder they have to eat so constantly.

Yesterday they were mentioned in The Times, which has brought a new influx of visitors. Several of these wanted to see the equally famous Tawny Owl as well, but he was not visible again today. I have a feeling that he may have changed his habits and be staring at us from another tree as we walk blindly past him.

The Diana fountain may not be much of a fountain -- I have often heard visitors saying 'Is that all?' -- but it might have been designed to please geese.

In winter when it is largely deserted by humans, it is constantly visited by Greylags, who appreciate the sparking clean filtered water, the expensive high-quality turf installed by a firm specialising in professional football fields and, above all, no admittance to the dogs that make their life so miserable elsewhere.


  1. Hi Ralph,

    female Wigeon grazing on the rabbit paddock a.m. today then tucked under vegetation asleep on west side of Long Water on my second circuit. Tawny in usual tree. Bearded Tits still in.situ but elusive for 30 mins during high winds. Also 10 Red-crested Pochard (6 near the island, 4 Long Water).

  2. Thanks for the information. I missed both the Wigeon and the Tawny Owl, despite looking at both places. Oh well.