Wednesday 20 November 2013

The yew bush between Peter Pan and the Italian Garden was full of birds come to eat the ripe fruit. There were several Blackbirds ...

... a Song Thrush ...

... and a Mistle Thrush, here shown waiting on an adjacent hawthorn tree before plunging into the yew.

It was not interested in the perfectly edible hawthorn fruits, preferring yew berries. There were also Starlings, Great Tits, Blue Tits, and a single male Greenfinch, the last three there presumably to eat the seeds out of the berries, though there may have been a few inects in the tree for a meal requiring less preparation.

Two Song Thrushes were singing loudly on the edge of the Long Water, stimulated by the afternoon sunshine and possibly also by having eaten their fill of worms brought up by a violent hailstorm around noon.

The Tawny Owls were in their usual tree, and the male gave me a tolerant look, perhaps hoping that I would amuse him by falling into the brambles again.

There was a flock of 53 Greylag Geese on Buck Hill enjoying the lush grass.

Most of the Canada Geese were on the former Olympic site next to the Serpentine, where the grass is also of superior quality because it was relaid after the games. Mixtures used for hardwearing turf include various cultivars of Ryegrass, Chewing's Fescue, Slender Creeping Red Fescue and Browntop Bent. I have heard that Red Fescue is not very palatable because the blades are too narrow, but if it is present in the mixture here it will be only a minor component.

Two young Mute Swans were flying along the Serpentine for no particular reason, perhaps just enjoying their new skill. Here is one of them coming down on the water, with feet extended to act as water skis and soften the landing.


  1. How do you sex the owls? Is it by recording individuals' markings when they vocalise? Jim, north London

    1. The owls have been in this place for a decade, so we recognise them as individuals, and we have seen the female disappearing for months every winter when she's on her nest. Even if we hadn't seen that, she's bigger than him, as is the case with owls.