Thursday 14 January 2016

There are two Little Grebes on the Long Water, here photographed from the Italian Garden.

I don't know how long both have been here, but I have not seen more than one for many months. Little Grebes tend to arrive on the lake in freezing weather when the small ponds they prefer get iced up. They seem to know that the north end of the Long Water never freezes, because it is fed with water from a borehole at a steady 10°C.

Several Great Crested Grebes were flying on the Serpentine. They too may sense the arrival of frost, and may be preparing to fly out to the upper reaches of the Thames.

Cold days keep people out of the park, allowing Greylag Geese to enjoy the lush turf in the Diana fountain enclosure and drink the well filtered water.

But they are not so good for the Grey Heron that hangs around the Dell restaurant looking for scraps. It was standing on an outside table wistfully gazing through the glass.

I wonder whether it will ever try going indoors. This is not as fantastic an idea as it seems. A heron from St James's Park flew into 10 Downing Street last May.

The Black Swan was cruising around near the bridge with the young Mute Swan that we call the girlfriend's brother, though its sex is uncertain at the moment.

His girlfriend was at the far end of the Serpentine. Although the Black Swan seems to enjoy the company of this other swan, he only displays and calls to his girlfriend.

Some Mute Swans were enjoying one of the air bubblers that are supposed to oxygenate the Serpentine. Perhaps the flow of air stirs up algae for them to eat, or maybe they just like the jacuzzi sensation.

A routine walk around the Tawny Owls' area didn't disclose any owls, as usual. But there was a Stock Dove on their former nest tree. Although this tree is now a sad ruin, the hole where Stock Doves nest in it is undamaged and may be used again.

There were several Goldcrests around the lake, following foraging flocks of Long-Tailed Tits. This one was in a yew tree near the Henry Moore sculpture.

A flock of Blue Tits passed through the leaf yard. They tend to flock more than Great Tits, so you may see none for some time and then a lot together.

A Robin near the Italian Garden was waiting impatiently to be fed.


  1. The Goldcrests look like little punk rockers to me! Gorgeous photos today.

    1. Thanks. But it was a lucky day, and that's what really makes the difference.

  2. Oooh, that robin picture is (again) to die for! Whoever says birds don't have facial expressions should take a look at your pictures.

    1. They certainly have a whole range of expressive attitudes. And owls really do have facial expressions, which we try to interpret, probably wrongly.