Monday 14 October 2013

The four young Mandarins hatched on the Long Water are still going around in a gang. They flew in together from the Serpentine and landed on the Long Water, unfortunately on the far side from me, too far for a picture in today's murky light. They all still look like females. If any of them are male, I suppose we shan't see them in their full finery till next year, as some of the adult Mandarin drakes have already grown their breeding plumage.

The Coal Tit in the leaf yard came out to be fed.

It is still a bit timid, but will probably lose its fear and come to my hand when the weather gets colder. There was another Coal Tit on the east side of the Long Water, in a large foraging flock of Long-Tailed Tits, Great Tits and Blue Tits working their way through the shrubbery near the martial arts bandstand.

This young Lesser Black-Backed Gull was eating a Feral Pigeon that had probably been caught by one of the two adults that have started hunting pigeons.

But it does seem likely that the habit will spread among the population, as gulls are quick to adopt successful feeding strategies. The Great Black-Backed Gull we saw here yesterday kills pigeons as a matter of course, and is really more of a bird of prey than a scavenger -- though it is hampered in that role by having weak little gull feet than can't grasp its victims.

Beside the Serpentine, a Magpie was climbing a tree and fishing insects out of the bark. There is nothing weak about Magpies' feet and they are excellent climbers.

This young Great Crested Grebe was assuming a heraldic posture, looking slightly like the Welsh dragon.

It is one of the brood from the east end of the lake, and has grown to the stage where it is beginning to sprout a little black crest.

There is a bench in the Flower Walk which used to be pleasantly shaded by yew trees, and if it rained you could sit there and stay dry under the dense foliage. The park bosses have now sent the gardeners to cut down these trees and plant more boring nursery flowers. This Robin had his territory in one of the trees, and was hopping around on the bare ground singing angrily.

I really don't understand gardening. It destroys the rich diversity of nature and replaces it with regimented rows of foreign flowers bred to a grotesque size and vulgar colours.


  1. I enjoyed your description of displaying Great Crested Grebes yesterday. At a local lake (Waddon Ponds), there is a pair of Little Grebes with chicks, and I heard them calling to each other today, with their loud whinnying call. Perhaps this is similar behaviour.

  2. I'm not too familiar with the language of Little Grebes, because they are scarce in Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park -- unlike Regent's Park where there are plenty. They have a courtship call that is a bit quieter than their usual trill, and a pair will duet. There are many recordings of Little Grebe calls in all circumstances at
    -- far the best site for all bird calls.