Wednesday 11 January 2017

A pair of Mute Swans have started nesting at the west end of the reed bed in front of the Diana fountain. It's not a good place, and in past years several nests here have been attacked by foxes -- though one did succeed.

The Mallards are also feeling that it's that time of year.

Around noon a bitter wind got up, and the Tufted Ducks sheltered in the lee of the electric boat.

Although the supply of fish is clearly low, more Cormorants arrived. There were about twenty on the whole lake. One fishing near the bridge didn't catch anything, gave up, and jumped on to a post to dry.

Another was very undersized, and when it stretched its neck it looked really thin.

A Canada Goose found an apple in the Long Water near Peter Pan and ate it in spite of interference from another goose. Some Black-Headed Gulls watched enviously, looking for a chance to snatch it.

The apple probably came from the leaf yard, where people were feeding them to Rose-Ringed Parakeets. Some other bird would have snatched it, then accidentally dropped it in the water.

There was a feeding frenzy around some bread thrown into the lake, and a gull perched on a young Mute Swan's back to get a better vantage point.

Another had found a hoverfly larva, but was mobbed by other gulls and dropped it.

Several Herring Gulls were doing the worm dance in the Diana fountain enclosure. The young ones are getting better at it, and one pulled up a worm.

The adults can sometimes get a worm every few seconds, probably not because they are dancing better but because they are more skilled at spotting worms between the grass blades.

A Pied Wagtail was hunting bugs on the edge of the Serpentine.

There was a brief glimpse of a Wren in the Rose Garden.

A Robin perched on a bramble near the leaf yard, waiting to be fed.

The female Little Owl near the Albert Memorial was enjoying a sunny spell.


  1. That Gull has either some cheek, or a deathwish, to stand on a Mute Swan like that.
    Poor Cormorant. So thin. I hope it'll make it.

    1. I've seen Black-Headed Gulls standing on swans and geese before. They are quick enough to fly off if the bird turns back to peck them.

  2. Doesn't Aesop have a story about a wren winning the who-can-fly-highest contest by sitting on an eagle's back until the last minute?

    1. Yes, it was a competition to choose the king of all the birds, and the Wren won. But I think this is a species confusion, typical of classical literature, and the winner ought to have been the Goldcrest, the smallest of all Old World birds, and equipped with a golden crown. Its scientific name is Regulus regulus, 'little king' and this group of tiny warblers is called 'kinglets'.

    2. in German a Wren is a Zaunkoenig ('Fence-King'); although I'm not aware of them being particularly keen on sitting on fences?