Sunday 7 December 2014

There are still thrushes around the rowan tree on Buck Hill. A few fallen rowan berries are still to be had, now blackened but apparently still appetising, and this Mistle Thrush had found a large earthworm.

They were joined by a couple of Chaffinches, also looking for fallen berries, though they only eat the seeds inside.

The male Tawny Owl was peacefully asleep on the nest tree ...

... when a Magpie flew right into the tree hole and started scolding him. He whipped round and the Magpie fled. They wouldn't dare to come within the range of those terrible claws.

But this effrontery was too much for the owl, and he went down into the tree.

This Black-Headed Gull beside the Serpentine was wearing ring number EX 63686.

There is also one with EX 63684. The rings were put on by Roy Sanderson on 19 November 2011, at Peter Pan, where he tempted the gulls down with pieces of biscuit and grabbed them, ringing them in seconds so that they were only mildly annoyed. They have returned faithfully to Kensington Gardens every winter, but I don't know of any other sightings of these two.

Black-Headed Gulls have beautiful soft dark eyes, and it is tempting to think of them as less aggressive than Herring Gulls with their cold pale green stare. But that would be a silly anthropomorphic illusion. They do what a gull's gotta do.

A few more Shovellers have arrived, a little groups were scattered over both lakes. This is one of three at the Vista.

There are only a few hundred Starlings in the park, so their massed sunset flights are not a grand spectacle. But they wheel around the sky with grace and precision.

A few of the Mute Swans on the Round Pond made elegant silhouettes in the track of the setting sun.


  1. I visited Brighton recently, on a bright winter's day. The enormous number of starlings roosting on the pier alone make it worth the trip : their sunset flight is truly spectacular. (and of course it occurs at a conveniently early hour)

    1. Yes, a big flock of starlings on manoeuvres is one of the great sights of the world.