Sunday 1 December 2013

A Herring Gull was amusing itself with a crayfish on the edge of the Serpentine, maybe playing with its food, maybe just playing. First it dived to pick the crayfish out of the shallow water.

When it had brought it to the surface ...

... it dropped the crayfish, spread its wings and jumped into the air ...

... and repeated the same move over and over again.

I don't know whether a Herring Gull can dismantle and eat a large Turkish crayfish -- or, if it can, whether it would consider it worth the hard work when there was easier food around. When all the crayfish were killed in 2008 by an accidental release of chemicals from the Diana fountain, the big gulls certainly ate them, but only after a couple of days when they had begun to disintegrate.

At the Italian Garden, a Little Grebe was dealing with another challenging meal, a substantial perch.

I know it was a perch because you could see the spines on its dorsal fin. The bird had to give the fish a hard shaking to stun it, and then turn it round so that it could swallow the fish head first and avoid the spines sticking in its throat.

The pair of Egyptian Geese flying around the tops of the dead trees were disturbed in a rival, which was repelled with a noisy display.

Just as an Egyptian Goose has not decided whether it's a goose or a duck, their call is intermediate between a honk and a quack. The females make more racket than the males.

The Tawny Owls were still in their usual place in the beech tree, occasionally half opening an eye to exchange a sleepy but affectionate glance.

Soon they will leave this place and start nesting, and the female won't be seen till March, while the male stands guard over the hole that leads to their nest in the horse chestnut tree.


  1. Hi Ralph,

    We visited the park again today after last weekend's successful trip to see the Tawny owls. Today we failed to see the Little Owl again but were really pleased to see the Tawny owls. We also had a great time feeding the Ring Necked Parakeets. We have now had blue tits, great tits, robins, starlings and the parakeets land on our hand to feed. A Coal tit and Long tailed tits were close by but were not brave enough to take the seed. Have you ever seen these feeding from the hand?
    What a great place for wildlife Hyde Park is!
    My sons pictures can be seem on his blog

    Thanks again for your fantastic blog

    Peter Chapman

    1. Nice pictures, and thanks for your kind words. Coal Tits will land on your hand if they know you well. I fed two today. But, because they are so small, they have to wait for a break in the arrivals of the larger birds before they feel safe. Also, they may panic and refuse to come at all. I don't think Long-Tailed Tits will ever come to your hand. They are not particularly shy of humans, they just consider them irrelevant.