Wednesday, 2 November 2016

A Cormorant on the Long Water caught a fair-sized pike.

The fish put up quite a struggle, during which another Cormorant tried to grab it.

But in the end it was swallowed. It was only the third pike I've seen in the lake.

David Element saw a Northern Gannet flying over Kensington Gardens, and got this picture.

It was a juvenile, and clearly lost. This is only the second recorded sighting of a gannet in Kensington Gardens, the first having been in 1952.

Otherwise it was business as usual on a fine sunny day. The Little Owls near the leaf yard were calling to each other, but only one was visible, the female in the nest tree.

The Nuthatches, bribed with peanuts, were giving a good show in the leaf yard.

A Coal Tit also flew down.

Later it came to take food from my hand, the first time that this particular bird has taken the plunge. I hope I can feed it every day to help it through the winter.

A flight of Long-Tailed Tits went over near the Italian Garden, and paused in a hawthorn tree.

Some Blue Tits were accompanying them.

A Carrion Crow on Buck Hill was rummaging in the dead leaves and bringing up insects.

A Jackdaw was searching in the roots of an old chestnut tree.

This is the orphaned young Mute Swan that was looked after by the sadly missed Black Swan. It's still quite small, which probably means that it's female, but is in good order and was holding its own among a group of adults.

A Shoveller drake at the Vista was looking very fine in the sunshine.


  1. Wow! How do cormorants avoid damage to their innards from a struggling pike?

    1. I suppose that once the pike is swallowed it can't open its jaws. But it did seem a very dangerous meal.

  2. That gannet is clearly *very lost. I always understood them to be very land-phobic; I've seen gannets in the Hebrides heading south from Tarbert to fly round the tip of the Isle of Harris, a good 4 or 5 miles of detour, to avoid crossing a couple of hundred yards of isthmus - a distance short enough for Vikings to portage longships over - with a sea-loch visible on the other side from where they are.

    1. Presumably it came up the Thames estuary and found it getting narrower and narrower, and didn't know where to go.

    2. I don't know if it may be relevant - when I first visited England I was surprised by the abundance of what I thought were Seagulls (Herring and Yellow-legged Gulls mainly) living, as it seemed to me, in landlocked places. The guide said that no place in England is very far away from the sea, and that was why there were Seagulls everywhere.

    3. This is certainly true, but another factor in the spread of gulls inland has been the creation of large landfill sites for the increasing amount of human rubbish. They are gull paradises, and many of our gulls, especially Black-Headed, go there to breed in summer.

    4. Presumably bio-digestion plants will not hold quite the same attraction.

    5. That's OK, no one will get around to building any.