Tuesday 15 October 2013

The Great Black-Backed Gull was on the raft on the Long Water again today.

It was wandering around aimlessly, occasionally stretching or preening its enormous wings -- they have a span of over 5 ft -- and showed no inclination to fly. When I came back three hours later, it was still there. Maybe it was digesting a pigeon.

Near the Serpentine island a Great Crested Grebe was making a bee-line for the half-timbered boathouse, followed by a half-grown chick. So I went to the land side of the boathouse, stuck my camera through a hole in the wire mesh, and waited. And sure enough, there they were in the semi-darkness, with the parent fishing ...

... and the chick making a tremendous noise in the echoey interior of the building.

One does not expect to see grebes indoors, and it was a remarkable spectacle.

This oddly assorted pair of a Canada-Greylag hybrid and an ordinary Greylag Goose has been together for several years.

Presumably the hybrid is sterile, so they have no chance of breeding, but they are content in one another's company.

This is a young Wood Pigeon, which does not yet have the white collar of the adult.

In flight it displays white wing bars like those of the adult, but smaller and less clearly defined. Very young Wood Pigeons have dark eyes, but this one has already developed the pale grey eyes of the adult, which give it a baleful-looking stare. Note the odd-shaped pupils, like a keyhole turned sideways, that give it some peculiar advantage of vision. A few other animals have pupils wider than they are high, such as goats, and I have been told that this helps them to scan the distant horizon for predators. Possibly it is the same for Wood Pigeons, though in this case death often comes from directly above, in the form of a large bird of prey.


  1. Hi Ralph,

    Very strange behaviour from the Gbb gull!
    I was wondering is the Nuthatch still coming to peanuts stuck in the dead tree?


    1. Yes, the Nuthatch is still around in the leaf yard, and I saw it yesterday. It comes down for any suitable food you put out, either on the fence or in the chestnut tree (which isn't dead, it is just 413 years old and a bit tatty).