Wednesday 15 November 2017

The four young Black Swans at the Bridge were joined by the older one, who had come to be fed. He let one of the young ones share his food.

The old Coot nest here is finally beginning to disintegrate under the pressure of ducks nibbling at it to find insects. The Coots are grimly clinging on.

They really didn't like one of the young Black Swans coming too close.

The white Mallard is losing the creamy yellow of his new feathers, and will be pure white again soon until his next moult.

The Rose Garden seems an unlikely spot for Egyptian Geese to settle in, but in fact it has a tree trunk to display on, a fountain to drink and swim in, plenty of grass on the lawns to eat, and mature trees all around where there must be a suitable nest hole.

The injured Egyptian in the Diana fountain enclosure was lying diown to take the weight off his sore foot.

But when he stood up he was visibly better, limping less, and the swelling is continuing to go down.

Across the path, a young Moorhen struck a pose in front of the reed bed.

A female Pied Wagtail was hunting insects in the enclosure.

Another was on the platform of Bluebird Boats, ignoring the boat people who were vigorously cleaning the bottoms of the boats. Birds understand that when people are busy they are safe to go near.

The pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull was playing dead, hoping that a careless Feral Pigeon would walk near enough for him to grab. It didn't work this time. But he has plenty of other tricks.

The white-faced Blackbird waited on the fence for her daily handout of sultanas.

The Rose-Ringed Parakeets, so well camouflaged in summer, are now extremely conspicuous. Green feathers work fine all year round in their native India, but not here.

The Little Owl at the Henry Moore sculpture showed how to blend into an English background.


  1. In last couple of days I've had a crowd of pigeons and Black-Headed Gulls scrumming furiously after healthy bread I've been dropping them, and I can't help wondering, what if one of the gulls chose to peck out one of the pigeons' eyes? Could a pigeon react fast enough in the melee? The gulls' bills look pretty sharp close up. Jim

    1. Gulls aren't wilfully vicious, just hungry and competitive. And I have severe doubts about 'healthy' bread, though both species can tolerate it.

  2. Wholemeal Hovis, 63% wholegrain. What would be the main problems? Jim

    1. Geese have evolved to eat a very un-nutritious diet of raw plants. All that refined starch and protein can't be good for them. Wholemeal bread is slightly better, but it's still bread.

  3. Lovely earthy autumnal colours in the Little Owl picture!

    It always amazes me that wagtails should not fear humans. They will run a bit in the opposite direction if you get too close, but that's it.

    1. They are confident in their extremely fast takeoff speed. A few years ago there was a Pied Wagtail in Queensway which ran around the ankles of passers by, and even out into a street full of moving cars.

    2. Sometimes some birds seem to view humans as a 'safe zone' i.e. seem to be 'flocking' with a nearby human if they stay able to react to the human's movements. I've come across this in robins and blackbirds. I've also seen a Stock Dove in long grass appear to 'flock' with a Grey Squirrel! Jim