Friday 13 February 2015

The Scaup on the Round Pond emerged from a dive holding a strand of algae, only to have it snatched by a passing Black-Headed Gull, which could not possibly have wanted to eat it but couldn't resist having a grab.

On the Serpentine, a Moorhen climbed on to a post to pursue its unappetizing diet of gull droppings ...

... when it saw someone scattering some little green objects on the shore, which were already attracting Coots, and went over to investigate.

I picked up one of these things, a soft pod about half an inch long with a cleft along one side, but I couldn't identify it. All kinds of exotic eastern produce are thrown to the birds, thanks to the Middle Eastern greengrocers in the nearby Edgware Road. Whatever it was, the Moorhen took one bite and decided it was even less palatable than gull droppings. The Coots also gave up.

On the other side of the lake a Cormorant was fishing, with a Coot right next to it. Both were getting on with their own separate business, not bothering each other.

The pair of Great Crested Grebes at the eastern end of the lake were also fishing in the shallow water at the outflow. I didn't see them catch anything. These two birds are very alike in appearance and build, and I can't tell which is the male and which is the female. Both have broad crests of the type usually possessed by males.

A pair of Mallards at the top of the waterfall in the Dell made a pleasing composition, reminding me of the dioramas they used to have in the Natural History Museum.

The male Tawny Owl took his time before emerging into the drizzle in the late afternoon. Then he had a good scratch.

Under the plane trees across the path there were no Redwings, but a Song Thrush was hopping about waiting for the rain to bring up some worms.


  1. ... little green objects...
    pistachio seeds, maybe salted (thus unappetizing to the birds)?

  2. Those are fresh chick peas (Cicer arietinum), the constituent of hummus. Perhaps if you had shelled them, the birds would have found them appetizing, especially (for cultural reasons) the MOORhen.

    1. Thanks for pointing that out. I should have recognised them from the groove down the side. Cicero's father got his name because his nose was said to resemble a chickpea, a feature found today on the film star Owen Wilson.

    2. They look like edamame beans to me - and possibly more likely, given that they are so popular these days.

    3. They confused me as much as they confused the birds.