Thursday 18 December 2014

As a contrast to yesterday's picture of a Great Crested Grebe in pale winter plumage, here is one of the other pair, with a very full crest and extremely dark colouring. Even his white front has a brown tinge.

His mate is almost as dark. Grebes mate for life, so she is probably as old as he is, both or them darkening year by year.

A whirl of dead leaves near the Rima relief turned out to have a Magpie in the middle, which was tossing them about looking for insects underneath.

We haven't had a picture of a Great Tit for a while, so here is one in the leaf yard collecting a pine nut.

The three Green Woodpeckers were on the Archery Field again, next to the Kensington Palace railings because they were keeping their distance from a bunch of Magpies and Carrion Crows at the other end.

The Jackdaws were in front of Kensington Palace as usual.

Towards sunset a flock of Greylag Geese left the Round Pond, heading southwest, presumably bound for the river.

There are surprising number of Greylags on the Thames upstream of central London, including a permanent colony at St Mary's church in Battersea, which is on the edge of the river.

The male Tawny Owl was in his place on the nest tree, looking a bit windswept.

It is definitely not cherry blossom time, but this tree near the Italian Garden has been set off by a couple of mild days.


  1. Ralph, you may not know, but there is a variety of cherry tree called Prunus Autumnalis Rosea. I have one. It is in flower now - just as it should be. The blossom you show looks very similar. Alan Titchmarsh says every garden should have one, and I agree. The joy of its little pink blooms popping into flower in December - well it's pretty special. Thanks for the Grebe picture. I adore them (well worship them really!).

    1. Hmm.I wonder. Must look at the council's standard flowering cherry trees in the local streets.

    2. is the tree you are looking for. It's quite unusual - perhaps it should be grown more for winter cheer. The full Latin name is Prunus × subhirtella 'Autumnalis Rosea'.

  2. I visited the gardens on the 17th and was quite surprised to see a jackdaw. I found your blog when searching for information about them there. I may have seen you talking to visitors by the round pond. This is a link to a short video I took of the birds there:

    I will follow your future posts with interest.

    1. Thank you, that video gives a very good idea of what it's like to be in the park at this time of year.

      The Jackdaws have only been back in the park for about a year. There used to be a colony in the elm trees until 1968, when the elm disease killed the trees and they left. It is very good to see the return of these charming birds.