Thursday 19 October 2017

The Grey Heron at the Dell restaurant caught and released a perch several times before deciding that it was too large to swallow. Perch have spiny dorsal fins and have to be swallowed head first, and you can see the heron trying to turn it round before giving up.

It ruffled its feathers in frustration.

On the other hand, the Black Swan's ruffled feathers are an ornament. They need careful preening.

Three teenage Mute Swans were also preening on the edge of the Serpentine. This is actually a brood of four, and the odd one had wandered off to join another four teenagers, who were with their parents. A few weeks ago this would have resulted in the intruder being angrily ejected, but now the parents have lost interest in their young, so they let it stay. The young swans will hang around their parents until the next nesting season.

The three Great Crested Grebe chicks at the bridge have had so much attention recently that we've overlooked the older ones from the nest on the island. Here is one, looking almost like an adult in winter plumage but retaining faint traces of stripes.

The pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull crept up to these Feral Pigeons on the roof of the Dell restaurant, but they stood their ground, knowing that they were safe if they stayed alert, and could simply drop off the edge if threatened. Perhaps his yawn expressed frustration.

Another Lesser Black-Back was eating something on the gravel bank in the Long Water. I thought this was pigeon killer number two, but the photograph shows that it's a different gull, and has found a dead fish.

Some Magpies were interested in a rubbish bin near the Rose Garden, but didn't seem to be going into it as they usually do. A closer look showed that the bin had been sealed off by putting a bag over the top (for some reason that makes sense to park keepers) and that rainwater had collected in the top, making a convenient drinking pool.

The rowan trees on Buck Hill were visisted by a Blackbird ...

... and a Rose-Ringed Parakeet.

We've had a video before of a Starling singing on one of the little ornamental conifers at the Lido restaurant, but this one was so bold that he allowed himself to be filmed in close-up.

There are miniature buckets on the tables containing dying cactuses. Evidently this one was infested with insects, as a Starling was probing it carefully.

The Little Owl at the leaf yard was perched outside her hole, fluffed up with annoyance because she had just been chased off her favourite branch by a Magpie.


  1. She may be fluffed up in annoyance, but she's so darn pretty! If it came to a Mirror Mirror in the Wall type of contest, I don't know if I'd vote for her or for the Black Swan.

    The singing Starling is a wonder to behold. Amazing that it should have allowed the camera to be so close to it. Which only corroborates my opinion that Ralph is a bird whisperer.

    Magpies are marvellous creatures. Give them an obstacle or a problem, and they come up with a solution to their advantage.

    1. This is the Grey Heron that was rescued when it got its bill trapped in a bit of plastic netting, the subject of a video last summer.

    2. That bird is much too reckless, it seems. Thank God it appears to have gained some common sense and didn't try to down the spiny perch.