Wednesday 10 December 2014

The number of Shovellers continues to increase, and there are now about 20 of them on the Long Water. Some of them formed a group rather than going around in pairs, but there are not yet enough to form one of their grand shovelling circles, for which they need about 50 birds.

At Peter Pan, a pair of Moorhens were contesting the ownership of a post. They can tip Black-Headed Gulls off easily, but when the opponent is another Moorhen usually the one on the post wins.

A Black-headed Gull was washing itself briskly on the Serpentine.

Nearby, the odd couple of a Canada-Greylag Goose hybrid and an ordinary Greylag had spotted someone feeding the ducks and were hurrying expectantly up the lake. This couple have been together for years. Presumably the hybrid is sterile, so nothing will come of the relationship.

The eight young Egyptians at the Round Pond had settled down in a line, with the sharp wind ruffling their feathers.

There were five Jackdaws, as usual on the Kensington Palace side of the pond, wandering among the geese looking for worms.

The two Coal Tits are now definitely thinking of coming down to my hand for food, as they perch on nearby twigs looking on hungrily as the other tits arrive. But they have not yet taken the plunge. I am sure they will soon. Meanwhile, I give them pine nuts off the railings.

The male Tawny Owl took his time and didn't come out till sunset, so today's picture is a bit dark.


  1. "one of their grand shovelling circles, for which they need about 50 birds." I am intrigued by this concept of a shovelling circle! What is such a thing?

  2. Shovellers eat tiny water creatures by shovelling water up in their enormous bills and filtering it through bristles on the inside, like a small version of a whale. The wake of a passing bird stirs up these creatures so that there are more of them in each mouthful of water. So they arrange themselves in a ring and circle round in each other's wake. The ring may contain over a hundred Shovellers and be 20 yards or more in diameter.