Wednesday 17 February 2016

One of the pair of Dunnocks which live near the ticket office of the Lido came out on the tarmac. This is the first time I've seen one here since the bushes under which they liked to skulk were severely cut back.

Another shy bird was unusually visible, a Treecreeper in the leaf yard.

Goldcrests are not shy of people, but tend to stay inside the yew trees they like. This one was on the west side of the Long Water.

The young Grey Wagtail was hunting along the edge of the Serpentine near the small boathouses ...

... and so was a Pied Wagtail.

Tom fed this pair of Rose-Ringed Parakeets near the Italian Garden, so they followed him all the way along the east side of the Long Water to the bridge. Once you start feeding these insistent birds they will be all over you.

A Carrion Crow was calling loud and long in the Dell, for no apparent reason. There is a Welsh saying, Digrif gan bob aderyn ei lais ei hun, 'Amusing to every bird is his own voice.'

(I thought it ought to have been pob rather than bob and llais rather than lais, but that's what it says on the web. Maybe a Welsh reader will set this to rights.)

The Black Swan was on the Serpentine with both girlfriends at different times. He decided to eat some grass on the shore. He is not exactly graceful on his feet, but his gait is much more nimble than the heavy waddle of Mute Swans.

The broken horse chestnut tree on the west side of the Long Water near the bridge has a pretty yellow bracket fungus on it. As usual, I don't know what it is. It seems too thick and round to be a Chicken of the Woods.

It's impossible to keep squirrels from taking food intended for the birds.

Several people have asked me to point out that putting plastic nets in the trees is not just unsightly, but dangerous to small birds which can catch their feet in the netting and be left hanging. Also, woodpeckers can get their long beaks and tongues caught. If you see anyone putting these nets in the trees, please ask them to present their food in a safe way.


  1. Fantastic pictures again!
    Recently I started using a Squirrel Repellent spray on feeders and food, and it works really well!
    Are there lots of pairs of Goldcrests?

    1. I didn't know there were squirrel repellents. Maybe I should spray myself to stop squirrels running up my legs.

      There are lots of Goldcrests after two mild winters in succession. Some of them are singing. Soon it should be possible to get a rough idea of how many there are.

  2. As well as small birds becoming caught in the netting by their feet, Woodpeckers can be caught by their very long bill and even longer tongue. PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE ON TO ANYONE YOU SEE WITH FOOD IN NETS.

  3. Working in the wildlife section of a local garden centre one summer I used to wonder whether the seed we buy to feed our birds in such vast quantities originates from farms which demonstrate an equal respect for our feathered friends. Are there any commonly recognised standards do you know?

    I followed your instructions to find the little owl residence near the Albert Memorial this lunchtime, but HRH was not receiving visitors. I did however meet with one of your many followers Ralph. :-)

    1. Most of the seed is imported from third world countries where the agricultural system is less mechanised and chemical. But farmers are the enemy of wildlife, it's all part of the human plague of our planet.

      Sorry you didn't find any of the little owls. It wasn't a good day for them. Sun, warmth and calm are needed. Maybe in a couple of weeks it will be easier.

  4. I think that is 'chicken of the woods'; Laetiporus sulphureus can be quite heavy and bulbous, in some cases grotesquely so. It is unkind to the fungus, but if you break it open it does look exactly like chicken-breast. Edible, and pleasant - not really worth the candle, though.

    Harry G.

  5. As for your Welsh proverb; I'm told by a friend who speaks the tongue of angels that it's fine (consonants mutate in Welsh, hence - I presume - the pob --> bob thing).

    (By the by, there's a *slightly vulgar Welsh expression for doing something very quickly, "mewn cachiad nico”, nearly-literally 'in [the time it takes] a goldfinch to, er, excrete'.)

    Harri G.

    1. Many thanks for various information. I was suspicious of the Welsh proverb because bob and lais don't translate at all in Google Translate, while pob and llais do. But Google Translate is not to be trusted farther than one could throw an elephant, especially for inflected languages.

  6. I'm pretty sure it isn't Chicken-of-the-woods. More probably it's Rigidoporus ulmarius, although I was hoping to find the time to see it closely in the park before giving my opinion.

    1. Thanks very much. A web page with a very similar image here says that this species can grow to an enormous bulk. It will be interesting to see what happens with this one.