Tuesday 2 June 2015

Perhaps this was inevitable: one of the Mute Swans that invaded the Long Water has decided that the artificial island is a good place to nest. The sitting tenant, a Canada Goose with eggs not yet hatched, was having none of this and there was a tense face-off.

Although the casualty rates among Mallard ducklings are very high, there is a particular pair of ducks on the south side of the Serpentine near the bridge who seem to be better parents than most Mallards (which is not saying much), and every year they get some of their offspring through the dangerous early stages.

After yesterday's picture of Carrion Crows eating a Feral Pigeon, here is one of a crow treating them with complete contempt. They were being fed by a visitor at the Round Pond, and the crow simply barged in, scattering them, and took the food.

Before the huge mess from the triathlon has been half cleared up, and while a vast and hideous marquee is being erected next to the Albert Memorial, another violation of the park is under way. A huge area is being walled off for one of the noisy concerts that blight our summer. The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull has had more than he can stand, and has moved to the Round Pond. We know how he feels.

The Barnacle Goose is still at the Round Pond.

But another goose is also visiting, the Bar-Headed Goose from Regent's Park. This beautiful bird flies in every year or so, but is promptly grabbed by the park keepers and hauled back to Regent's Park, where at least it has the captive Bar-Headed Geese for company.

This picture shows its very long wings. Bar-Headed Geese spend the summer north of the Himalayas and fly over them to winter in India. Airline pilots sometimes see them above 30,000 feet, cheerfully flying in conditions that would kill a man.

Still on the Round Pond, here is a Swift fanning out its tail to make a screaming turn.

Near the Physical Energy statue, a Magpie family saw me feeding Charlie and Melissa the crows, and came over to demand food in a very bold way. They are usually rather shy.

I didn't feed them, because if I started they would be all over me for ever, frightening away the little birds.

Some young Starlings were waiting with their parents on the roof of the Lido restaurant, looking for a table to raid.


  1. Do they wing-clip rather than pinion at Regent's Park hence this bar-headed goose makes a bolt for it at this time after growing new flight feathers? Btw is it definitely not from St James's Park? Jim n.L.

    1. There are lots of pinioned birds in Regent's Park. I go there as little as possible because the sight makes me ashamed to be human.