Wednesday 1 February 2017

The dominant Mute Swan pair on the Long Water were exploring a possible nest site in the reeds on the east side.

The male swan knows perfectly well that this is a bad choice, because he lost his previous mate to a fox in exactly this place. But the house-hunting ritual has to be gone through. Almost certainly they will settle on the artificial island that was built for them, though they have made a hole in it by obsessively pulling up reeds.

A few yards off in the dead willow tree, the Kingfisher was visible again.

Two Cormorants were fishing in one of the Italian Garden ponds. One caught a fair-sized perch.

The Redwings on the Parade Ground were a long way up the hill, and the fence made it impossible to get near them, but there were plenty of them.

A Fieldfare came slightly closer and pulled up a worm.

A Pied Wagtail sprinted along the edge of the Serpentine.

A Long-Tailed Tit stared at the camera from a thicket near the Lido.

There were also lots of Robins. We need to have a picture of a Robin from time to time.

Egyptian Geese not only have no sense of timing about breeding, they have no sense of place either. A muddy puddle is not a romantic spot.

The Egyptian family at the Vista were too far away for a good picture, but they certainly still have chicks. Two were visible, and the mother had her wings stretched over others.

This young Herring Gull has learnt two things. One is that it's easy to snatch a peanut from a Carrion Crow. The other is that peanuts are not just toys, they are edible. It can now open them and extract the nuts as quickly as a crow can.

Young Black-Headed Gulls play with toys almost as much as young Herring Gulls. This one has a willow twig.

The head-up gesture made by this Lesser Black-Backed Gull, accompanied by a quiet moaning cry, seems to mean 'Let's go.' Both gulls took off together a second later.

The female Little Owl near the Henry Moore sculpture stoically sat out in the morning drizzle.

And the one near the Albert Memorial stayed in her hole even when the weather brightened up a bit in the afternoon.


  1. I remember reading in Konrad Lorenz's 'Here I am, Where are you?' that geese make the same head gesture to signal mass departure. Funny that gulls should do it too.

    The Kingfisher has taken quite a liking to you, Ralph. And I don't think I've ver seen a Long-tailed Tit make eye contact with anyone, either. It's clear that the birds at the park know and like you.

    1. Interesting about the geese. I haven't read that Konrad Lorenz book, and ought to. I remember reading other things about his geese.

      Long-Tailed Tits seem to be completely indifferent to people, neither frightened nor interested. But I was pointing a large black object at it from only a few feet away.

    2. I once saw one of a pair of woodpigeons on a branch bob its head forward and down just before they both flew down to forage together. Jim

    3. A form of pointing, maybe? Great Crested Grebes have a call, a rising-falling moan, unaccompanied by a gesture and directed at mate or chicks, that means 'Come here' or just 'Get moving.'

    4. Yes, it looked like pointing at the ground. This was seen from one of my back windows, from where I've also watched goldfinches closely and seen pointing behaviour, and also saw a jay 'point' apparently to a concealed owl through a gap in the ivy on a tree in the presence of two magpies it had attracted, after which it vacated its perch and the magpies took its place and had a look for themselves. A lovely case of intelligent communication between species. Also as I think we've discussed, Egyptian Geese have an expression shared with human languages, "uh-uh-uh-uh", they use more specifically to rein their young in in the face of potential danger. Jim

    5. Ralph, you have to see this clip:

      A (Russian, if that counts) hooded crow forsaking offered food in order to play with a spoon.

    6. Perhaps it had a bowl of borshch waiting.