Friday 8 December 2017

More Shovellers have arrived on the Long Water, perhaps because a pond has frozen somewhere else. They were scooping food from the surface in the usual way ...

... except for these two. Not finding enough food to scoop from the surface, they were grazing on the bottom, like Mallards.

Gadwalls prefer to crop algae off the sloping concrete edge of the lake, which is thickly carpeted with them.

The slippery edge has caused many people to slide into the lake when they incautiously trod on it. When the Round Pond was restored recently, the sloping edge was replaced with a flat ledge. The result has been a sharp drop in the number of Mallards on it. Only Tufted Ducks go there in any numbers, because they are diving ducks and feed differently.

When people throw birdseed into the water it sinks, which makes it harder for most water birds to reach, but not the agile Tufted Ducks.

A Cormorant caught a perch under the marble fountain of the Italian Garden.

The fallen tree horse chestnut tree in the Long Water is a convenient place for them to preen.

A Moorhen searched for food among the fallen leaves under the balcony of the Dell restaurant.

A Black-Headed Gull found a hoverfly larva in the Serpentine, and of course was chased by another trying to snatch it.

This one at the Round Pond, with ring OHV, is from Denmark and has been coming to the park every winter for years.

Another played with a willow leaf on the edge. Black-Headed Gulls seem to play at any age, but the larger gulls mostly only play when they are young.

A young Herring Gull played with a stick, dropping it in the water and picking it up again.

For some reason there are always plenty of Common Gulls at the Round Pond in winter, but few on the Serpentine and usually none on the Long Water.

The female Little Owl near the Albert Memorial was dozing in her oak tree, and didn't wake up when I photographed her.

But the male owl near the leaf yard was awake and interested.


  1. He's looking at you with a very inquisitive and curious expression. No wonder they were Athene's birds.

    I couldn' help but noticing the Coot skirmish in the background of the preening cormorants' video. I miss their silliness.

    I don't think I have ever seen a Gull diving for play as the young Herring Gull is doing. That's absolutely fascinating!

    1. That owl and I have known each other a long time. The picture on my very first blog post, on 6 April 2012, is of him.

      I'm always ready to video a Coot fight. You have to be quick, though, as they start fighting without warning, and threaten each other afterwards. They are mad.