Saturday 20 December 2014

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull had caught a fish, or at least he had acquired it in some way. You can tell it's him by the deep yellow colour of his legs. He was beginning to eat it on the edge of the Serpentine near the Dell restaurant, and his mate was just arriving to share it with him.

An oblivious human lurched towards him, and he ran into the water, taking the fish with him. Then the familiar young Great Black-Backed Gull, visiting the lake today, swam up and took it away.

There was no fight. When one of these terrible great birds comes and takes your fish, you have to concede.

On the other side of the lake the blonde Egyptian Goose was stretching her wings.

She doesn't use them much. She was 50 yards from the place where she was hatched. I did once see her on the Round Pond, but she soon went back to her native region.

The elusive Little Grebe appeared briefly on the Long Water under the parapet of the Italian Garden.

A Goldfinch was picking seeds out of the fruit of an alder tree beside the Long Water.

Several Mistle Thrushes were looking for worms on Buck Hill, looking endearingly tall and gawky as they hopped around.

There were more on the Archery Field.

The male Tawny Owl was in his usual station on top of the nest tree.

Nearby, just the other side of the neighboring beech tree, the branchless trunk of a dead tree had a large crop of Oyster Mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus), growing all around and up the trunk.

These are edible, good, and expensive when bought from delicatessens.


  1. Little Grebes have such understated charm. I love them.

    1. And a very silly giggle, also charming.

    2. Last Sunday (14 December) I saw a gull not unlike the filcher in your picture finishing off a pigeon at the edge of the lake near the Dell restaurant. At the time I thought it was merely finishing the leftovers, but, after your acute observation, it seems likely it had appropriated a heftier meal from the pigeon hunter earlier. I've also noticed the pigeon hunter joining in the bread squabbles lately, an activity it used to spur as it focussed on the milling pigeons. Is its style being cramped from several directions?

    3. The Great Black-Backed Gull is unmistakably huge, so if it's there you will recognise it. We need to keep an eye on this little theatre.