Monday 11 January 2016

The Ring-Necked Parakeets in the leaf yard, now thoroughly spoilt by people feeding them, have taken to lying in wait on the railings next to the patrh so that that can leap out and mob anyone who might have food.

In a willow tree on the edge of the Serpentine, a Carrion Crow was impersonating a bat.

Two Mallard drakes were fighting at Peter Pan.

Three Greylag Geese were sitting on one of the reed rafts at the east end of the Serpentine. Their pose and serious gaze reminded me of the famous portrait of the Bronte sisters.

Under the dead willow tree next to the Italian Garden, a Great Crested Grebe and a Coot were eyeing each other suspiciously. They are always enemies, competing for nesting sites, and Coots will eat grebe chicks if they get a chance.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was prowling among the Feral Pigeons near the Dell restaurant. He made a momentary unsuccessful attempt to grab one. When I came back three-quarters of an hour later, he still hadn't caught one.

Catching pigeons is harder than it looks. They have tremendous acceleration from a standing start, faster than that of the gull, and can only be taken if they wander into a corner where they can be trapped, or start bathing on the edge of the lake. As a result, they are fairly calm when a predator is walking among them.

I think this young Lesser Black-Backed Gull standing on the restaurant roof is the one that was begging for food from the pigeon-eating pair several months ago, and may be their offspring. There aren't many young Lesser Black-Backs in the park.

But there are plenty of young Herring Gulls from the last breeding season and the one before, and they outnumber the adults considerably. Probably most of them are from the colony in Paddington.

The Black Swan was feeding peacefully with his girlfriend on the north shore of the Serpentine.

The other Mute Swans were by no means peaceful, with several dominant males chasing the others, and there were groups of swans flying up and down the lake to get away.


  1. Have Coots ever eaten Grebe chicks?
    Who knew they would be so predatory.

    1. It's rare but has been recorded; also Coots eating eggs. Coots will eat anything if they can.

  2. Do you think it is time to relabel the Black Swan's 'girlfriend' his 'partner' as gender is undetermined? Glad to see them peacefully enjoying each others' company with or without sibling (also undetermined gender) in attendance. They are lovely!

    1. Possibly. But in the light of the past couple of days, it seems more likely that the 'girlfriend' is actually a girl. And I hate the term 'partner', which sounds cold and legalistic.