Thursday 23 February 2017

It was very windy. The Great Tits and Blue Tits in the leaf yard were exceptionally hungry, evidently because the wind had reduced their insect supply, and poured out in crowds to take food from my hand. They had no difficulty in flying, and executed neat crosswind landings that an airline pilot would have been proud of.

A Jay in the leaf yard clung to a tree trunk, waiting to be given a peanut.

The Coot nesting near the bridge stood grimly on its nest as it tossed around and bits blew away.

A pair of Great Crested Grebes were crazily trying to build a nest in the waves under the willow tree near the bridge.

The grebes at their nest on the island were completely sheltered and the water was flat calm.

A young Herring Gull was nonchalantly playing with a leaf as the waves bucketed it up and down on the Serpentine.

The pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull landed in his usual place with a fresh caught perch in his bill. He must have caught it by diving for it. He didn't offer to share it with his mate.

Shortly afterwards he could be seen flying around looking down, like a gigantic tern.

There were lots of Redwings on the Parade Ground.

Two pairs of Dunnocks were flitting around inside the big hornbeam hedge that encloses the twisty path at Kensington Palace. One of them came out on the grass.

The Egyptian gosling at the Henry Moore sculpture incautiously wandered out through the railings as people walked by on the path.

The Mute Swans' nest in the reed bed by the Diana fountain is an on-off affair, but today both swans were on it, stamping down and tearing up reeds.

A pair of Gadwalls were cruising around among the windblown leaves in one of the Italian Garden ponds.


  1. The Great Tit looks very cold and hungry, poor thing. Whoever says that birds don't have facial expressions is lying through their teeth.

    That young Gull playing while the waters around it swell and swerve is the very picture of the essence of a sea bird: laughing at storms, flying in the teeth of gale force winds like nothing, making heavy weather their playground.

    1. Wish I could have got some pictures of Carrion Crows playing in the wind, but they refused to give me a photo opportunity.

  2. That's what it all comes down to, isn't it? They can fly, and we cannot. On my part it is almost a visceral envy. You may feel awe and almost religious admiration for say, a tiger, an orca, a shark, but not envy. Envy is reserved for birds.

    There is a great quote that is attributed to Norman Foster, about which I don't know if it's legit, but it says what I mean much more clearly: "The most amazing lesson in aerodynamics I ever had was the day I climbed a thermal in a glider at the same time as an eagle. I witnessed, close up, effortlessness and lightness combined with strength, precision and determination".

    1. It's a matter of scale too. If we were small enough to fit into a balsa-and-tissue glider the size of an eagle we might do quite well -- though still unable to do more than glide.