Sunday 20 November 2016

The morning rain brought a welcome sight of a Little Owl near the Albert Memorial, sheltering in the pair's nest hole.

I still haven't discovered where they are now going when it isn't raining.

The remaining fruit on the rowan trees on Buck Hill is in places that are harder to reach. A Mistle Thrush ...

... and a Starling ...

were having to work harder to reach it.

The Cormorants are also having to put more effort into their fishing as stocks get lower. But there are still some perch left in the wire baskets next to the bridge.

After catching its fish, the Cormorant scrambled on to a post to digest it. They find this quite difficult.

Another Cormorant was having an equally hard time near the island.

Agile Moorhens have no such difficulty, and delight in knocking Black-Headed Gulls off the posts.

There was a little crowd of young Herring Gulls at the Lido. The large proportion of young birds in the Herring Gull population here can be explained by the nearness of a breeding colony on rooftops in Paddington.

They had gathered around a bit of French bread, but it was so stale that even their strong sharp beaks couldn't make much impression on it. They tried it one after another, and abandoned it.

Yesterday I was wondering whether young Herring Gulls learned to do the worm dance by watching adults. The answer is yes, and here is a dancing academy in the Diana fountain enclosure, with an adult demonstrating the steps.

This Common Gull at the Lido has a plastic ring with the code JA709, showing that it has come from Norway.

The young Grey Heron at the Dell restaurant had nothing to do, and was playing idly with a stick.

A pair of Great Crested Grebes were displaying to each other, though they didn't get as far as the full courtship dance. I have seen grebes doing the full dance as early as January.


  1. Hi
    Did your Hobbies breed this year?

    1. We think it's likely, but are not sure as no one found the nest. Two were seen flying together in late summer, but too far away to tell the difference between an adult and a juvenile.

  2. I saw your Black-Headed Gull with the yellow ring 2PSN, as sighted by by you on the Serpentine back on the 18th of September. Not, I think, headline news ("GULL STAYS ROUGHLY WHERE IT WAS, COURT TOLD"), but a distraction from the *actual headlines, which must be welcome, must it not?

    1. You can report a bird ring by email, and you will be sent a life history of the bird, often very interesting (though just as often it has gone no farther than a rubbish dump in Essex). For plastic rings, you can find the correct address at
      If you are lucky enough to be able to read the whole number on a metal ring, which is quite difficult, you can report it at

  3. I must confess that I burst out laughing when I got to the Gull dance academy. The adult Gull looks like many dance teachers I have met. Great wonderful witty humour, as always.

    1. There was a certain lack of attention at the back of the class.