Thursday 24 December 2015

Yesterday Andy Sunters saw two Firecrests in the shrubbery at the northeast corner of the bridge, and managed to get a picture of one. Note that it has a horizontal black stripe through each eye, unlike a Goldcrest which has an almost circular black patch around the eye.

There have been reports of Firecrests in outer London, but this may be the first one reported in the centre this year. Curiously, this is exactly the place where I saw a Firecrest myself six or seven years ago, the only one I've ever seen in the park.

In the late morning rain, a Great Spotted Woodpecker made a momentary appearance in a tree near Queen's Gate.

There were three Redwings in the trees at the top of Buck Hill. They are hard to see, and you generally find them by hearing their mild chattering.

A Nuthatch came down to take food from the railings of the leaf yard.

A Pied Wagtail was hunting in the grass near the Triangle car park. They have a peculiar high-stepping run when going through grass, rather like the action of an American trotting horse.

Just up the shore, a Grey Heron and an Egyptian Goose were having a standoff over a bit of food. The heron won, of course. You don't argue with that beak.

This is the Mute Swan on the Long Water that was attacked by a dog. He is now swimming well with his injured leg, and you can see that the wound is healing cleanly.

In the Italian Garden, a Moorhen was climbing surefootedly along the edge of the basin of the marble fountain, in spite of the steep slope, flowing water and slippery weed. Their enormous feet never seem to slip on any surface.

Near the Serpentine island, a Black-Headed Gull was playing with a bit of weed, flying up with it, dropping it and diving in after it.

The Herring Gulls' habit of playing with bits of rubble is spreading, and today there were three gulls at it. The south shore of the Serpentine is now littered with mossy bits of brick and concrete for 50 yards from its east end. The most popular game seems to be seeing how big a piece you can lift.

A very happy Christmas and a splendid New Year to all readers.


  1. Today is one of these days in which to choose one's favourite picture in the entry is impossible. They are all of them wonderful. Thank you so very much for writing this blog, with all the lovely pictures and the witty, dry humour of your commentary.

    Merry Christmas, and happy New Year!

  2. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from California. Even at this distance, I look forward to your beautiful photos and wonderful commentary everyday.

  3. Merry Christmas and a Happy Wildlife-Watching year in Hyde Park.

    Thank you for a fantastic daily blog with quality pictures.

    Would love to have seen the Firecrest as a Christmas Present!
    Is that the rarest bird you have ever seen in the park or is it something else?

  4. Will you be on duty on Christmas Day Ralph? I must thank you for all the joy you have given me this year with your lovely photos and entertaining and educational commentary.

  5. When I had to move away from London, the thing that I missed most was my daily walks through Kensington Gardens. I too enjoyed observing the antics of the wildfowl and grew very fond of them. Your blog Ralph is such a delight for me to read and keeps me in touch with that wonderful place that I loved so much. Thank you so much and I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Sue.

  6. and here's to a merry solstice and longer days to come.

    1. Thank you all, and yes, I shall be staggering round the park on Christmas Day. May not see much, but you will get a report.

  7. I presume the heron had robbed the Egyptian? Yet another great pic, has an eerie echo of a depiction of two dinosaurs arguing over a third dead one in one of my old dinosaur books. And a happy Xmas! Jim n.L.

    1. Oddly, it was the other way round. The Egyptian was trying to sneak up on the Heron and take a bit of food that the heron was poking at on the pavement.

  8. Replies
    1. Don't think so. Black stripe extends behind eye. On a Goldcrest it doesn't.

    2. Ralph. It is a goldcrest. Where is the white stripe. Bird in the photo is a goldcrest. Sorry.