Thursday 14 December 2017

There was a rare glimpse of a Song Thrush in the Rose Garden. They have become sadly few in the park, largely as a result of habitat destruction by insensitive gardening.

Another bird seldom seen is the male Little Owl of the pair near the Henry Moore sculpture. He is usually in one of several trees to the north of the lime tree where his mate has her nest hole, impossible to find unless he calls. Today there was a furious shriek as he was attacked by a Magpie and flew to another tree. Soon the Magpie followed him and chased him along Buck Hill into the distance.

His mate was in her usual place, undisturbed.

The female owl at the Albert Memorial was peacefully sunbathing in her hole.

The Great Tits ...

... and Blue Tits ...

... coming out to feed in the leaf yard were joined by a Nuthatch.

Until a few weeks ago you seldom saw a Black-Headed Gull in the Dell. It's a bit away from the lake and they had no reason to go there. One day three happened to visit it, and must have seen someone feeding the Feral Pigeons. They saw their chance, and now gulls are all over the place.

The second pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull had not caught a Feral Pigeon. When he saw someone feeding Black-Headed Gulls, he waded in, scattering them ...

... and won a bit of cheap sliced bread, a poor substitute for fresh pigeon.

A Moorhen walked along the chain between the posts at the bridge. They are amazingly sure-footed, with their long prehensile toes. They clearly enjoy climbing and balancing.

A Mute Swan started preening while facing downwind, and got rather ruffled.

A male Tufted Duck probed the submerged concrete edge of the Serpentine for food. They are omnivorous, and there are snails and other small invertebrates to find here.

A close-up of a female Shoveller shows the remarkable bristles inside the upper part of her bill. These filter little creatures out of the water as they shovel, which are then wiped off with a large tongue.


  1. The shoveller's bristles are a little creepy. From a distance they look like rows of tiny slender teeth.

    The Mute Swan seems ready to star in the Seven Year Itch! Only a subway grate is needed.

    1. I find its huge lolling pink tongue a bit worrying. But it's an essential part of its peculiar feeding process. I wonder how Blue Whales get the plankton out of their filters.