Saturday 4 March 2017

The Egyptian Geese that nest in a hollow oak near the Round Pond have brought out their latest brood, five of them.

Virginia, who watches this pair closely, tells me that the female was on the nest for 38 days, far longer than the usual 28 to 30 days. It's impossible to see into the nest from the ground, so there's no way of knowing what caused the delay.

Raucous cries from the island showed that a Grey Heron had come too close to an occupied nest and was being given notice to leave.

A Coot on the foolishly sited nest near the bridge was scratching its chin.

The Great Crested Grebes at the island were hanging around their nest but not doing much, and the usual picture would have been a boring repetition. So here instead is another grebe fishing under the dead willow tree near the Italian Garden. The twigs of its fallen branches make a fine hiding place for small fish. Grebes are small and agile enough to get in, but Cormorants are excluded.

And the same tree is also the favourite spot of the Kingfisher.

The pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull, on the right of this picture, was sharing his latest victim with his mate. She is very lucky to have such a fine provider, though it's hard on the pigeons.

We've seen this Herring Gull several times before. It's the Essex gull, L4NT, playing with a bit of stick because gulls just gotta have fun.

A Fieldfare could be seen distantly on the Parade Ground ...

... among the usual Redwings.

A Chaffinch was singing between the Round Pond and the Bayswater Road.

So was a Robin at the bottom of Buck Hill ...

... where a pair of Long-Tailed Tits were foraging for insects in the bushes.

A Dunnock in the leaf yard was perfectly camouflaged in the leaf litter.


  1. What an extraordinary thing for the Lessers to predate. Not something you see everyday. Mind you I did see a Great Black-backed Gull attack a Cormorant many years ago at Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. At one point it lifted the Cormorant up about 50ft above the River Yare, before dropping it back into the water. Needless to say the Cormorant took a deep breath, dived down and didn't come up until the gull had gone. Unfortunately not something a pigeon can do.

    1. This bird has been killing pigeons for several years, and has been refining his technique. Two other Lesser Black-Backs have now tried to copy him but are none too successful yet. It's clearly something that has to be learnt.

      There are also reports of a pigeon-killing LBB in St James's Park, operating at the north end of the bridge. I haven't seen this personally. It's possible that it's our gull who has flown over for a change. He would be recognisable to those that know him, by his custard-yellow legs and a ring of black dots around his irises.

      Great Black-Backs are proper predators, though a Cormorant does seem a rather large target.

  2. Amazing that Egyptians even goose-step like true geese, or maybe there are ducks that do it less conspicuously. Jim