Saturday, 8 November 2014

Two Cormorants were fishing side by side over the wire baskets near the bridge, occasionally catching fish, and relations seemed harmonious. Then one of them caught a huge fish, and the other's envy got the better of it and it tried to snatch the prize.

While all this was happening, a Great Crested Grebe was stealing in under water like a grey ghost and catching fish around the sides of the basket, retiring to a safe distance from the Cormorants before surfacing. This view was taken from the bridge.

This odd couple of a Herring Gull and a Lesser Black-Backed Gull has been seen and photographed before, in the same place on the south shore of the Serpentine. Today they were alternately waving dead leaves at each other in what seemed like an affectionate display.

The rowan trees on Buck Hill had no birds in them apart from a couple of Magpies, which are often seen here. They may have repelled the usual thrushes. Mistle Thrushes loathe Magpies, which prey on their nests, and sometimes attack them, but I think only in the nesting season.

There was a group of a dozen Red Crested Pochards in the middle of the Long Water, diving and bringing up algae from the bottom of the lake. Suddenly they all skated off in the same direction, evidently frighted by some underwater threat -- maybe a submerged Cormorant passing too close.

The Egyptian Geese at the Round Pond still have their eight young. As the weather worsened and the wind rose they came in to huddle under their mother. But they are now much too big to fit under her wings, and the result was an untidy heap.

The female Tawny Owl appeared in the beech tree next to the nest tree. She can be distinguished by her high squarish eyebrows. As usual with owls, she is larger than her mate.

The Little Owl was out on his usual branch in spite of the chilly wind. If he looks unusually severe in this picture, it is because a Jay had just perched a few yards in front of his face.


  1. My old headmistress wore winged spectacles and more often than not had an expression very similar to the Little Owl 'shudder' Sue.

    1. My sister's headmistress also had that look when she said 'Child... that is neither clever, nor amusing.

  2. Forgive another intrusion so soon after my last two but I just had to mention that this afternoon I saw the little grebe on the Serpentine - around 4:30 pm just to the east of the lido area and very close to the shore. I say THE little grebe rather than A little grebe since it was in such exposed water I imagine it must be the same intrepid one you pointed us to on the Round Pond (for which, many thanks.) While it was under water most of the time it didn't seem to be dragging anything up when it surfaced, so not a very productive move I'd imagine.

    1. So that's where it's got to. I think it may have been picking up small invertebrates under water from among the algae and swallowing them without surfacing.