Tuesday 31 January 2017

The Kingfisher was in the dead willow tree near the Italian Garden, again.

It's unwise to say that a bird has a habit or a favourite place, because they are likely to change it suddenly. But the bird was there during two visits more than an hour apart.

The Redwings at the bottom of the Parade Ground were perched in the trees. They couldn't be clearly seen but there must have been a lot of them, because they were making quite a noise. Some of them were singing.

There was no sign of Pied Wagtails here, but several were running around the edge of the lake. This one was on the terrace of the Dell restaurant.

It's getting quite used to people. With a bit of time and encouragement, Pied Wagtails can become quite tame.

Two Carrion Crows were amusing themselves by swinging on the weathervane of the Lido restaurant.

Below, a Robin was singing loudly in an olive tree.

Some Long-Tailed Tits passed by the Italian Garden.

On the island there were two Grey Herons in the tree with the highest nest. One was right at the top gathering twigs for it.

A male Great Crested Grebe in fine new plumage was admiring his reflection.

(And, for those who say that birds don't recognise their reflection, water birds see it the whole time, and they must have worked out that it isn't another bird upside down and challenging them, or they wouldn't be able to get on with their life.)

There was an odd Greylag Goose with a white patch on its front on the south side of the Serpentine.

Several Mute Swans were flying from end to end of the lake, in both directions. Here is one toiling into the air.

A group of Shovellers on the Round Pond were shadowed by a Black-Headed Gull. Since they live by shovelling up tiny invertebrates, the gull had no chance whatever of stealing their food.

At the Lido, a gull was playing with a bit of straw.

The female Little Owl near the Albert Memorial was sheltering from the drizzle at the back of her hole.

Later the rain stopped, and female owl near the Henry Moore sculpture came out. She is now calm enough to stop staring at photographers if they behave themselves.

We're not seeing the male owls at the moment. This will change as the breeding season approaches.


  1. My heart always skips a beat, when my brain reads 'Kingfisher' and 'dead' on the same line. I'm always glad when my brain computes that actually it is the willow tree that is deceased! Such a beautiful bird.

    1. The demise of the willow tree, though sad, has made it much easier to see the Kingfisher.

  2. I wonder if the Grebe's home library contains a copy of Jacques Lacan's ""The Mirror Stage as formative of the function of the 'I' as revealed in psychoanalytic experience", which deals splendidly with the recognition of a physical self in the mirror as an essential stage in the development of a psychic self.

    1. Your guess is as good as mine as to whether Grebes can afford on-shore libraries, but it is a really super photo Ralph of one of my favourite water birds.

    2. Seriously, grebes may have some notion of mirroring, because their courtship display is a mirroring of the actions of a mate who looks just like them.

    3. He's as pretty as Narcissus, at any rate.

      If grebes recognize their reflection in water, they would recognize themselves in a mirror, right? Most mammals cannot do it.

    4. It would be fascinating to present one with its reflection in an upright mirror and see how it responded, and if it could learn what it was seeing. Urban pigeons, which land on windowsills, must be accustomed to seeing themselves mirrored thus.