Monday 31 October 2016

There can be no doubt that the Lesser Black-Backed Gull with pale pinkish legs is now killing pigeons for itself, rather than scavenging the leftovers of the notorious gull. Today near the Dell restaurant it was just beginning to eat its latest victim.

There is an enormous eruption of Harlequin ladybirds in Kensington Gardens. You can't walk through without them constantly landing on you.

Some of them seem to be preparing to hibernate in the Queen's Temple.

A Grey Heron on a tree just across the path looked down at one as it flew by.

The rowan trees on Buck Hill were full of birds eating the fruit. There were the usual Mistle Thrushes ...

... and Blackbirds.

When they have picked the fruit, they toss it backwards to swallow it, which allows them to eat a lot in a short time.

Starlings were sharing the feast.

And a female Chaffinch was chewing off and discarding the pulp of the fruit and swallowing the pips.

Rowan 'berries' are not really berries. They are pomes, with the same internal plan as an apple or a rose hip, and have multiple pips rather than a stone. All three species belong to the rose family, Rosaceae.

One of the resident Magpies surveyed the scene from a treetop.

The Coal Tits in the leaf yard were coming down to feed.

But on a warm day, the Nuthatches were finding enough insects for themselves and weren't interested in our offerings.

A Treecreeper was at work on a nearby ash tree.

They use their tail as a support when climbing, which makes the feathers become very frayed.

At the edge of the waterfall in the Dell, a Moorhen was turning over leaves in the hope of finding something edible underneath.

The number of Cormorants has fallen considerably as they have exhausted the medium-sized fish, but there were still a couple on the fallen horse chestnut tree near Peter Pan.

A Greylag Goose came down on the Serpentine, waterskiing on its feet to soften the impact.


  1. So Hitchcock's "The Birds" in 2016 becomes "The Ladybirds" in time for Hallowe'en. Aptly they bear a 'Bat out of Hell' figure on their pronotum, Bat out of Hell the musical seeing its West End debut next year as we recently learnt. Jim

    1. I really loathe that film. The gulls were tied on to the actors with thread -- no wonder they panicked. It is a worse lie even than the notorious Disney 'documentary' where they used a spinning turntable to hurl lemmings off a studio cliff, since the myth it created was more harmful.

      But Attack of the 50ft Ladybugs would be fun, in slightly blurred black and white with close-up shots of insects badly double-exposed over scenes of human actors screaming stagily and fleeing in roughly the right direction.

    2. Peter Benchley, who wrote 'Jaws', said: 'I do know one thing, however: if I were to try to write Jaws today, I couldn't do it. Or, at least, the book I would write would be vastly different and, I surmise, much less successful. I see the sea today from a new perspective, not as an antagonist but as an ally, rife less with menace than with mystery and wonder.

      And I know I am not alone. Scientists, swimmers, scuba divers, snorkelers, and sailors all are learning that the sea is worthy more of respect and protection than of fear and exploitation.

      Twenty years may be but a wink in the long span of humanity's relationship with the sea, but since the early l970s our knowledge of and attitude toward the oceans and the animals that live in them have grown and changed more than at any time in history.'
      This quote comes from here .
      Justyna C.

    3. I always rooted for the shark in that movie, anyway. I think most of the times I've watched that movie in company people took the shark's side.

      That reminds me of something Oleg Gazenko, one of the engineers who was involved in sending Laika into space to its certain death, said: that had he had to do it again, he wouldn't.

    4. When the sands are all dry, he is gay as a lark,
      And will talk in contemptuous tones of the Shark,
      But, when the tide rises and sharks are around,
      His voice has a timid and tremulous sound.

      --- Lewis Carroll, ' 'Tis the Voice of the Lobster', from Alice in Wonderland

  2. The other seasonally apt film with a link to the inhabitants of Hyde Park would be the early '70s 'Night of the Lepus', in which the inhabitants of a small Arizona town are menaced by thousands of mutated, carnivorous, killer rabbits. I can't entirely recommend it.

    1. Oh, is that like the killer rabbit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail? I almost died of laughter the first time I saw that.

    2. There's also a New Zealand film called Black Sheep in which the country's ubiquitous sheep turn carnivorous. I enjoyed this, but am a person of low and depraved tastes.

    3. My goodness what did I start? I saw some of the still ads for Black Sheep and was meaning to see it some time. You may also like the (reality) Angry Ram videos on youtube, which I think began as ram vs motorbike, also from New Zealand. Jim

  3. The movie The Birds puzzles me. It appears to have been made by someone who hated living things very much. You can see the terror in the actors and in the animals as well. And to what end? It might be technically a great movie, but what is the message it intends to portray? I've never understood it.

    1. Perhaps Hitchcock didn't like birds (unfortunately most people dislike them). Nick Park, who made 'Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit', seems to have a good attitude towards animals. I really like that film.
      Justyna C.

    2. Nick Park didn't like penguins, though. The penguin villain of The Wrong Trousers is quite alarming, not least because he has teeth.

  4. Steve Bell's penguins (in The Guardian, passim) also have teeth: