Tuesday 17 November 2015

The Black Swan is meeting some opposition at last. After the rain had died down and a few hardy people were sitting on the terrace of the Lido restaurant, he tried to come to the edge to beg food from them. But a large male Mute Swan had decided that he owned this area, and chased the intruder off. The Black Swan returned and was ejected several times before he gave up.

The Grey Heron at the Dell restaurant was patiently waiting for people to come out after the rain.

Wet days change the habits of the park birds, not because they take much notice of the rain but because the weather keeps people away. The enclosure of the Diana fountain becomes a haven for Greylag Geese, and there were over 80 of them in it today.

Here they are protected from dogs and can enjoy cropping the high-quality turf laid on top of a layer of the finest topsoil, far more delicious than the scraggy grass in the rest of the park which sits directly on the London clay.

There is almost always a pair of Herring Gulls in the southeast corner of the enclosure. The turf is full of worms, and this spot seems to have the best ones.

There was no need for them to do their worm-charming dance, as the rain had brought up plenty.

The lack of people also allows Pied Wagtails to trot confidently along the edge of the lake, picking up tiny creatures that only they can see.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was looking for a more substantial meal at the Lido restaurant.

There were a dozen Common Gulls at the Round Pond, including this first-winter one, part of the way through growing its adult pale grey feathers.

Common Gulls, intermediate in size between Black-Headed Gulls and Herring Gulls, take three years to become fully adult in appearance. It takes Black-Headed Gulls just two years, and Herring Gulls four.

Plane tree seeds never seem to lose their appeal for Herring Gulls. This gull was incessantly picking up the seed and dropping it in the water. I was there for ten minutes and it was still doing it when I left.

The yew berries have almost all been eaten, and the rush of birds and squirrels to the yew trees has stopped, so Blue Tits and other small birds can return to them undisturbed.


  1. Ohoho, the Black Swan finally met its match! Rumble in the Lido!
    (I'm more excited about this lovely ornithological soap opera than any one has a right to be...)

  2. It's fascinating to watch at first hand. If it comes over as a bit soapy on the blog, that's my fault.

    1. You are a delightful narrator and observer. Your pictures are absolutely wonderful, but it's your personal touch, your wit and your observations that make them utterly memorable. If that makes it soapy, keep it coming, as they say!

  3. Me too. To witness the Black Swan getting its come-uppance is a treat indeed!