Friday 6 January 2017

There was a film of very thin ice on the Serpentine, not quite enough to support a Black-Headed Gull. Everywhere it walked, the ice cracked under it. It tired of this and went to sit in a patch of clear water.

The ice was thicker on the Long Water, which is less exposed to the wind, but it was melting, and even an agile Moorhen was having difficulty walking on the slippery surface.

A pair of Great Crested Grebes, confident that the freezing weather is over for the time being, had remained on the Serpentine and were resting side by side. A seriously cold spell causes them to fly to the upper reaches of the Thames, which never freezes.

The white Mallard was making his way along the south side of the Serpentine, followed by his two inseparable companions.

A Magpie was having a wash. Or rather, as Magpies do, it was having a series of short plunges into the lake, alternating with drying and preening on a nearby branch. The whole process takes as much as half a hour. Magpies always look very clean and neat.

This is almost certainly the pair of Magpies I photographed together yesterday, in exactly the same spot near the leaf yard. It looks like love.

This Carrion Crow on the edge of the Serpentine is my old friend Headbanger, who flies over my head and bashes me if not promptly fed. He was expecting a peanut, and not happy about the delay caused by photographing him.

When I was in the Rose Garden one of the feeders was being refilled. The moment it was done, a Goldfinch flew down to it from one of the trees overlooking the garden. It must have been very hungry, because Goldfinches are normally shy and don't let you get close to them.

A Dunnock was on the path picking up grit.

One of the Wrens in the Dell colony came out into the open for a moment.

A Coal Tit perched in a prematurely blossoming bush next to the bridge.

The female Little Owl near the Albert Memorial was looking down from her hole.

Some pastel-coloured penguins from the funfair were looking sad as they waited to the taken to wherever plastic penguins go when they aren't in Winter Wonderland.


  1. The Coal Tit seems to have an interest in botany. I think the blossoming shrub in the background is Viburnum farreri or Viburnum x bodnantense. Both species bloom from November to March (their flowers are often fragrant!).

    1. Thanks for the information. The bush is at the southwest corner of the bridge, on the path next to the pedestrian tunnel. But I don't think the Coal Tit is interested in the blossom. I stand in front of the bush in the hope that the bird will make a pretty picture by perching in it before collecting a pine nut -- from the stone pine Pinus pinea, in which Coal Tits are very interested indeed, as the seeds are one of their favourite foods.

  2. Moorhens have amazing feet don't they! They are so large, especially when you see the chicks with feet almost as big as they are! Does the Serpentine freeze often?

    1. The Serpentine starts to freeze when there is a hard frost and no wind. If there is any wind, the waves stop the water from freezing, except maybe in sheltered corners. The Long Water, protected from the wind by surrounding trees, freezes much more readily.

  3. How handsome Headbanger is! I would consider a little concussion a good price to pay for getting into a close acquaintance with such a handsome fella.

    1. His pose expresses confidence that his wishes will be obeyed.