Thursday 24 November 2016

A brisk wind encouraged a Great Crested Grebe to fly up the Serpentine. With a headwind, their takeoff run is a slightly less desperate struggle than usual. It was chased by a Black-Headed Gull, which couldn't keep up with it. Grebes fly very fast because they have to, to get enough lift with their small wings.

They also have no means of slowing down, and their descents on to water are more or less crashes. They can't come down on land at all, of course.

Gulls can land with beautiful precision, but this one was diving headlong into the lake to retrieve a stone it had dropped in a game of drop-catch.

Near the Dell restaurant, the original pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was eating his latest victim in the water, because he had been bothered by children.

The third pigeon-eater -- the one with pale yellow legs -- had a pigeon of its own on the other side of the lake.

The second one -- with pinkish legs -- had taken time off from the hunt to have a good preen.

A Cormorant was having difficulty in balancing on the broken fence of one of the reed rafts. The fence was smashed down by the Mute Swans which nested on the raft earlier this year.

On of the Little Owls near the Albert Memorial was looking out of the hole in the oak tree.

A visit to the Rose Garden gave some good views of small birds. A Dunnock was poking around in a flower bed.

A Wren ...

... and a Coal Tit were in the same tree.

A Wood Pigeon was pecking at pansies.

At the edge of the garden, a Rose-Ringed Parakeet and a squirrel were rivals at the feeders.

Neither of them is supposed to be using these feeders, but these are not protected by cages and are open to all comers. At least in Hyde Park they are there, and they are filled reasonably often. In Kensington Gardens, the feeders are no longer filled at all. I just looked at the Kensington Gardens web site and it doesn't mention wildlife anywhere, which just about sums up the management's attitude to their priceless asset.


  1. I always marvel at Great Crested Grebe's ability to fly with those tiny wings of theirs. It is miraculous.

    Does the Pigeon-eating Gull kill daily? If so, its technique must be perfect by now. I wonder if Herring Gulls won't learn because they 'speak' a different dialect.

    1. Yes, that gull really does seem to kill daily, and may even be doing it more often now.

      The barrier to this behaviour crossing between species seems to be that Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-Backs seem to keep a certain distance from each other. But I feel sure that the crossing will happen eventually.

  2. The wren looks delightfully rotund, almost spherical. Perhaps fluffed out for the cold?