Wednesday 1 January 2014

A very happy New Year to all readers. A pity, though, that the year began with a grandly unpleasant day of heavy rain and gusty wind. After two hours I was saturated and fled home.

It was business as usual for the birds. Here a Cormorant fishing industriously in the choppy water near the bridge stares at me with its innocent blue eyes.

The small birds in the leaf yard were remarkably hungry and flew out in mobs to be fed. At some times I had three on my hand at once and more queuing up my arm.

Some birds seemed to be anticipating the coming of spring. This Jay in the leaf yard was raising his crest uttering that peculiar mixture of squawks and clattering that for Jays is song.

There was no sign of a potential mate in the shrubbery.

These Feral Pigeons have got completely carried away.

Nesting in buildings and living on scraps, they are probably fairly independent of the seasons.

This Great Crested Grebe is already in full breeding plumage.

His big crest and dark colouring suggests that he is quite an old bird, though a lot of it may be down to individual variation. He was at the east end of the Serpentine, where a pair nested last year, but I have compared pictures and he is not one of them. Nor is he the very dark grebe who nested under the willow tree near the bridge, as this one had an almost completely dark face. I don't think I've seen him before.

The male Tawny Owl was in his usual place on the nest tree, a little rain-spattered but impassive.


  1. Happy New Year to you, Ralph!

    I did try using the Google translate dropbox to render your excellent site into Latin but, I know you will agree, they still have some development to do.

    Magnificent pictures and an informative and approachable written style, with which I am extremely familiar in a very different context.

    "steve@" at the beginning of the URL will reach me if you wish.

    1. Thanks for your kind words. Yes, the Google Latin translator is a dead loss. A combination of a highly inflected language and a very small database of text has made it worse than useless. If you want a bit of a giggle, try giving it Horace's Pyrrha ode.

  2. Do you think those pigeons were a genuine couple? I've only once seen ferals mate on the ground and I guessed it was an adulterous liaison, at least on the female's part. The male had been displaying at her while she was foraging, as is such a common sight, but then she suddenly pressed herself down and let him aboard without further ado. Jim, n. London.

    1. They were billing and cooing in a very affectionate way for some minutes previously, though I am not sure what that indicates. I have seen Feral Pigeons mating on the ground quite often -- they're easier to see on the ground, of course.