Thursday 12 January 2017

Steady rain had turned the ground at the side of the leaf yard into a swamp, and a Moorhen was investigating it for worms.

This Robin at the southeast corner of the leaf yard has now paired up with a mate, though they wouldn't get close enough for a joint portrait.

A Song Thrush perched in a tree on the other side of the leaf yard.

A Wren emerged briefly from the reed bed in front of the Diana fountain.

One of the Little Owls near the Henry Moore sculpture, I think the female, was sitting out in the rain, though she went into the hole when I got closer.

The female little Owl near the Albert Memorial was sheltering at the back of her hole in the oak tree.

One of the Jackdaws at the Italian Garden stood on the balustrade to deal with a peanut.

A pair of Grey Herons were in the lowest nest of the three on the island.

The south shore of the Serpentine near the east end was littered with stones, at least fifty of them, brought up by Herring Gulls. It seems that the adults have caught on to the idea that the stones brought up by young gulls as playthings can have useful food on them, presumably small invertebrates in the algae.

A Black-Headed Gull was copying them, though obviously this stone had been brought up by a bigger gull.

A young Herring Gull had a stone too, but one without much growth on it, and was playing with it.

The pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull could take a break from hunting because he and his mate had found a large fish, which they were sharing.

As a contrast to these very grey pictures, here is one from yesterday. Paul Turner was passing the Italian Garden when he saw a Kingfisher in the dead willow tree, and got a good picture of it.


  1. So all those stones have been brought up by Gulls? I wonder if one of the youngsters began playing with stones and pebbles, and the others learned and followed. Has this behaviour been going on for many years?

    1. Young Herring Gulls have been bringing up stones to play with for as long as I can remember. But adults seem only just to have started exploring the algae on them for food, and the number of stones brought up has suddenly increased.

  2. Once again, another documented instance of Gull cultural transmission. This ought to be in an ornithology book.

    1. Cross-species too, if that Black-Headed Gull was anything to go by. But all this is anecdotal, from seeing isolated events on a few yards of shoreline.