Sunday, 22 November 2015

The morning sunshine brought the Little Owl out on a branch in last year's nest tree -- not his usual branch, so it would have been easy to miss him.

A Carrion Crow was eating berries in one of the rowan trees on Buck Hill ...

... and so were a fair number of Blackbirds.

A large flock of tits of various kinds passed through the trees beside the Long Water. These mixed flocks are most seen in cold weather. They are always led by Long-Tailed Tits, which range around at all times of year -- one is shown here -- but Blue Tits and Coal Tits, and sometimes Great Tits, accompany them. Small warblers such as Chiffchaffs may also join in.

Someone was throwing bread to the birds beside the lake, and in the resultant feeding frenzy a young Herring Gull bit a Canada Goose.

After the picture of a Common Gull which I put up on the 19th, showing that it could only just see straight ahead of it, here is a Herring Gull staring at the camera. Its eyes are more frontally set, and it clearly has good binocular vision.

Two pairs of Great Crested Grebes were having a territorial dispute on the Long Water, and a pair were displaying on the Serpentine. Another pair were carrying leaves into an invisible place on the edge of the reed bed near the Diana fountain.

That is the second bit of unseasonable nest building seen this month. Again, I don't think that any of this behaviour means that they are intending to nest. Grebes have a lot of spare time to play.

It took some time to find the Black Swan, but eventually he turned up next to the little landing stage by the Diana fountain, surrounded by matching Coots.

His girlfriend wasn't with him.

The Teal, not seen for three days, was back in his usual place near the Italian Garden. I think that when he isn't visible he is in the nearby patch of reeds. His adult male plumage has come on noticeably during this time.

There was a lone Shoveller drake on the Round Pond, unusual for these gregarious ducks. He may have got separated from the flock during migration, and not know that there are more Shovellers a few hundred yards away on the Long Water.


  1. A pleasing portrait in black! Do you think that coots may be even more ill-tempered and aggressive than the Black Swan? Thank God they are smaller, in that sense.

    1. Thinking of those Coot fights where half a dozen of them suddenly start trying to murder each other for no reason at all, I think the prize has to go to Coots. The Black Swan just wants his Lebensraum.

  2. Ralph - with reference to your Herring Gull attacking the Canada Goose to get at the food, I saw a similar (although not aggressive) situation whilst trying to feed a loan timid male Mute Swan with digestive biscuits in front of the Peter Pan area. More than once a Blackheaded Gull landed on the back of the Swan trying to lean forward and grab the food from him but to no avail. The gull stood quite still and the swan never reacted to it being there on its back! I would have loved a picture but my hands were occupied in the feeding.


    1. Thanks for the information. I've also seen Black-Headed Gulls landing on the backs of Mute Swans during a feeding frenzy, but for only a moment and I have never managed to get a picture of it.