Tuesday 5 January 2016

A Song Thrush was singing from a treetop at the southwest corner of the leaf yard.

A Ring-Necked Parakeet was examining a possible nest hole near the Albert Memorial.

It feels like early spring at the moment, and you have to remind yourself that it's actually the beginning of January. No doubt we shall have plenty of vile winter weather before the real spring begins.

The Black Swan was hard to find. I went round the lake carefully examining everywhere he was likely to be, and found his girlfriend by herself. So I wondered if he was in Regent's Park again, and went over for a quick tour of the lake -- no sign of the swan. When I came back at sunset, there he was in his usual place next to the Dell restaurant terrace, looking as if butter wouldn't melt in his beak. He hooted a greeting and came over to take a digestive biscuit.

As I left, I saw his girlfriend heading down the lake to meet him.

There was a Mandarin drake at Peter Pan, the first one seen this year, looking very fine (if you like your ducks absolutely over the top).

They fly in from the Regent's Canal, and often spend time out of sight inside a large bush on the opposite side of the lake.

This Black-Headed Gull is another visitor from Lithuania. I was with Alan Gibson, the gull recorder, when we saw it, and Alan said that he had seen this bird at Alexandra Palace a couple of years ago. Its dark red bill and feet suggest that it is quite old, so I may get an interesting history from Ricardas Patapavicius, who ringed it in Lithuania.

A young Herring Gull had found a new toy, a bit of mouldy rope tied to the jetty at the Lido, which it was pulling as hard as it could.

A Pied Wagtail was hunting for insects on the platform at Bluebird Boats. The grooves cut into the planks make it a good place for finding small insects.

Again, there was a flock of Long-Tailed Tits hunting in the shrubbery beside the lake below the Triangle car park.

A Jay at the leaf yard was looking at me impatiently, waiting to be given a peanut.

Charlie the Carrion Grow had got two, having barged his mate Melissa out of the way when I threw one to her.

His very shiny plumage is a sign of his success in getting nutritious food, and he never seems to go up Queensway with the tatty riffraff crows to raid the rubbish bins of Chinese restaurants.


  1. I was re-united with my favourite pair of Thames swans today. I declared loudly how much I had missed them. They accepted this announcement of affection calmly and without fuss. I have now bought some posh digestives to cement our relationship on my next visit. If it works for Ralph, it might work for me!

  2. OTT it's true. What do they do together in their bush Ralph?

    1. It's just a resting place. They have nested a few times -- in tree holes, not on the ground -- but the ducklings have never survived long because of the gulls. The Regent's Canal is much safer.

  3. As to the gulls game of tug of war with a rope, I haven't seen it before. But, in California, we had a blue whale beached (a pregnant female, hit by a cargo shipper) and the baleen (very tough) remained floating or on the beach for months. The gulls were enacting tug of war in groups or two or three, pulling apart the last remains of the sadful blue whale. The games the gulls play, seem rather adaptive under a variety of circumstances.

    1. It's those big strong beaks -- they just can't resist pulling and lifting and throwing. Like human hands.