Sunday 22 February 2015

Another Great Black-Backed Gull arrived on the Long Water. It is a second-winter bird, beginning to grow adult dark grey feathers on its back, but its progress is well behind that of the other young Great Black-Back, which has more dark grey.

So at least four Great Black-Backs have visited this lake in recent years: these two young birds and two adults, which were seen together on 5 February. All of them like sitting on the posts at Peter Pan.

Several Lesser Black-Backs and Herring Gulls were in the Diana enclosure, which was free of people on a wet Sunday afternoon. A young Herring Gull and an Egyptian Goose were washing and preening themselves in the fast-flowing water.

The gull had to stay in the shallows, as its little feet couldn't paddle hard enough to stop it from being swept down the jagged rapids.

Only one of the Black-Backs was doing the worm dance, presumably the one I saw doing it on the 19th. Between short bursts of dance it was pulling up chunks of grass. Did it hope they contained something edible, or is this another way of summoning worms?

A Black-Headed Gull was trying a new food, a segment of clementine that someone must have left at the Lido restaurant (which has sheltered tables under the portico so that hardy folk can eat outside in the rain).

The gull had to turn it round several times before it swallowed it.

One final gull picture: a Black-Headed Gull was having a face-off with a Moorhen about which of them was going to stand on the rock at the top of the Dell waterfall.

The Moorhen won -- they can always see off small gulls.

The Maned Goose is still at the Round Pond.

There was a report that the Scaup is still in the park; it was seen near the reed bed in front of the Diana fountain. I looked diligently for it all over the Serpentine, but couldn't see it.

Both Grey Heron nests are still occupied, though there was not much activity apart from a bit of preening. This is the larger of the two nests.

And the male Tawny Owl was at his post all day, in spite of the increasingly heavy rain.

Update: there are also reports of a Cetti's Warbler on the west side of the Long Water 80 yards north of the bridge. I now realised that I heard this bird on Saturday but didn't know what it was until I looked up its call on the web a moment ago -- shows what a feeble birdwatcher I am. I also saw something small and brown diving into the undergrowth, which my have been it. Memo to self: must try harder.


  1. Ralph, just a very quick message to say how much I enjoy reading your blog. I read every post with great interest. Thank you, keep up the marvellous work.

  2. My sentiments exactly. Thanks again Ralph.

    1. And thank you both very much for your kind words.

  3. Likewise from Toronto, Canada. It's such a treat for me to read your blog and view your super photos and literally see Kensington Gardens & Hyde Park through your lens. Thank you, Ralph!