Thursday 15 December 2016

The Mute Swans near the Dell restaurant were in a quarrelsome mood. On of them attacked a harmless Canada Goose.

And another had a go at the white Mallard. This picture shows how yellow the duck's latest feathers are. He used to be whiter than the swans.

I think the swan in this picture is one of the two 'Polish' Mute Swans on the lake -- the ones that have a deficiency of black pigment, with grey legs and a pinkish bill, and are white as cygnets. The 'Polish' swan with the ring was definitely there two hours later. I got a chance to read her ring. It is an ordinary British ring as used by the BTO, and the number is W40694. I've reported this.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull had missed a pigeon, but got a bit of poppyseed bread as a consolation prize. His mate eyed it enviously. When a bit fell off it, he allowed her to eat it.

The Lesser Black-Backs occupying various stations on the lake shore are distinctive individuals, so I was able to spot a new arrival. It has pale pinkish legs rather than yellow -- there is another gull with this leg colour -- and an unusual very dark bill.

The ordinary British race of Lesser Black-Backed Gulls, Larus fuscus graelsii, doesn't have a black back. The northern European one. L. f. fuscus, is much darker.

This young Herring Gull was playing with a peanut that it had stolen from a Carrion Crow. Another young Herring Gull saw this, swooped down, grabbed the nut, and ate it immediately.

A pair of Great Crested Grebes were displaying near the island.

A Blackbird in the Dell had found a berry under one of the ornamental bushes.

The Robin who owns the olive tree next to the Lido was proudly guarding it.

There aren't many olive trees in London. The only one that bears fruit is an ancient and famous tree in the Chelsea Physic Garden.

There were at least three flocks of Long-Tailed Tits in various parts of the park. This one was near the Henry Moore statue.

The female Little Owl in the oak tree near the Albert Memorial was in a nervous mood, and retreated into her hole as soon as I started taking pictures.

When I passed by the tree later hoping for a better shot she was outside on a branch, but rushed in when I was still fifty yards away.

When you have a dreary task such as picking up leaves, a Santa hat adds a bit of cheer to the proceedings.


  1. Why has the white Mallard become so yellow? Diet, or stained feathers?

    I hesitate to point out that 'harmless Canada Goose' may be construed as an oxymoron...

    Do they do anything with the olives from the olive tree at the Chelsea Physic Garden? Are they gathered, or left for the birds to eat?

  2. most of the olive trees i have seen in domestic gardens in bayswater do bear fruit but are hard as bullets at the end of the season. they dont ripen properly. they do look very chic though. and add a bit of exotica especially in winter?
    Mark W2