Monday 19 October 2015

The Egyptian Geese that were nesting north of the Round Pond have brought their six young down to the water. They face a perilous existence, endangered by big gulls and irresponsible dog owners.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was hunting near the Dell restaurant. The pigeon dodged and got away. Pigeons are more manoeuvrable than big gulls, and usually escape when chased through the air. They are most likely to by caught on the ground when they aren't paying attention and the gull jumps on them from behind.

A pair of Shovellers were feeding quietly on the Long Water when a Black-Headed Gull landed more or less on top of them, causing panic. I have no idea why the gull decided to do this. Shovellers feed by scooping up tiny water creatures, and a gull has no prospect of grabbing these.

You don't often see a gull upside down. This Black-Headed Gull was having an unusually vigorous wash in the Serpentine.

And the last piece of gull news: there is another Common Gull on the Long Water, the first one seen here since two strayed past on 15 August and left immediately. Common Gulls arrive from nothern Europe for the winter long after the Black-Headed Gulls.

The Great Crested Grebe family from the fallen poplar were in what is now their usual place next to the bridge. The parents are sometimes feeding the young ones, and sometimes chasing them away to encourage them to fend for themselves.

Today was the day for my monthly bird count, and there were 214 Greylag Geese on the lakes and the Round Pond. Numbers go up as winter approaches, and in snowy weather, when their feeding grounds are covered in snow, sometimes exceed 400 as the geese move in to the milder conditions of the city centre.

The number of Ring-Necked Parakeets in Hyde Park has also increased a lot recently as they expand their territory from their original stronghold of Kensington Gardens. Before this you used to see a few flying around in Hyde Park, but now they seem to have established themselves and bands of them can be seen perched in trees.

The male Little Owl was in this year's nest tree. So was the female, but she is feeling nervous again and went into the hollow trunk when I approached.

I couldn't find the Black Swan today.


  1. I was in Hyde Park about 9.30 this morning and the Black Swan was at the east end of the Serpentine, alongside the Mute Swan family with 2 young.
    While I was passing through Kensington Gardens shortly afterwards, a Parakeet flew right up to my face, no doubt expecting to be fed. This was slightly too close for comfort!

    1. Thanks. Will keep looking out for the Black Swan. Those parakeets are getting completely outrageous.

  2. I had the same experience at the leaf yard with a Parakeet yesterday at about 12.45pm. I couldn't find the owl although it was so overcast I wouldn't have got a good photo anyway :)

    1. Finding a Little Owl can be tricky, even when it's there. They are small and bark-coloured, and you can look right at one and not see it.