Tuesday 22 November 2016

The brisk wind was whipping the branches of the rowan trees about, but a Blue Tit was hanging on with practised skill and picking bits out of a fruit.

A Mistle Thrush was having an easier time holding on to a thicker branch.

A Blackbird preferred a hawthorn at the bottom of Buck Hill.

This Long-Tailed Tit was also in a hawthorn, but looking for insects rather than fruit.

A Carrion Crow was also looking for insects in a joint in the stonework of the old Diana fountain in the Rose Garden.

Another of the olive trees near the Lido restaurant has been claimed by a Robin as its territory. They make a good base, because they are evergreen and quite dense.

The thick carpet of dead leaves blown by the wind against the north shore of the Serpentine was being carefully examined for food by the white Mallard ...

... and a young Moorhen.

A male Egyptian Goose had other things in mind and grabbed his mate by the neck, but she was not in the mood. Perhaps the Egyptians are eventually beginning to realise that raising young in midwinter is not a good idea.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull went on a sweep of the area around the Dell restaurant looking for any vulnerable pigeons sitting in places where they could be grabbed. He didn't see any and returned to his place on the roof.

A young Herring Gull walking along the buoys at the Lido lost its balance and fell into the lake.

A Common Gull was soaring around, just enjoying the wind.


  1. Funny how the wind might dishevel the Blue Tit's head feathers, but won't make it lose its grip.

    I know there must be insects aplenty to support insect-eating birds in winter, but I am never able to see them. Wagtails appear to feed on air, or on dew, like ancient Greek cicadas.

    1. Only if you have fed tits on your hand do you understand how tight their grip is. It is actually done by geometry rather than muscle power: settling on a twig or your finger and bending the tarsi tenses the tendons and pulls the toes closed. But it's a grip you can feel, in the case of Great Tits slightly painful.

  2. I've never observed a duck rebuffing an amorous partner, how do they do it? I didn't realise they had any say in the matter. Jim n.L.

    1. I've never seen this before either. But in this case the female showed complete indifference, and it seems to have worked. Probably wouldn't with Mallards.

  3. It possibly has something to do with the fact that male ducks (as geese and swans) have a penis proper, rather than a cloaca; which perhaps might make rape - to which ducks are not averse (nor swans, if we are to credit Leda) - an easier physical possibility.

    There can't be many ornithological photographs that could be classed as Not Safe for the Office, but this is one of them:


    1. This article really comprehensive though I don't buy its explanation for most birds losing their penises. Jim

    2. Thanks for that. I suppose that birds lose everything they don't need, and it's just part of the tendency.