Monday, 8 January 2018

A remarkable arrival at the Round Pond, an almost white Egyptian Goose. This excellent picture was taken by Virginia yesterday.

I went to find it today, and found it being wooed by two males, so it is probably female. But it remained silent, so I'm not sure.

Note that this bird is not an extreme example of the white-headed morph of Egyptians, which lack the normal dark eye patch. You can see a pale beige eye patch. The washed-out coloration is known as 'isabel', for reasons discussed in my blog post for 3 January.

A pair of Mute Swans took off in unison on the Serpentine.

The cackling of a pair of Great Crested Grebes coming from the east end of the island revealed that they were at their usual nest site in the bushes. This place is very hard to photograph through the twigs, especially in dim light.

In this picture you can just see what looks like the low, untidy heap of a grebes' nest. But they will not be nesting properly yet. There is always a good deal of messing around before they start.

There was a lot of twittering in the yew bush nest to the Henry Moore sculpture. It contained several Blue Tits --- this one came out on a twig above the bush --

... and a Goldcrest.

A small flock of Long-Tailed Tits went past the Queen's Temple.

There were the usual hungry corvids. This Carrion Crow was also near the temple, staring at me challengingly from a branch.

A Jackdaw appeared in the Rose Garden, the farthest east I have seen them since they arrived at the other end of the park four years ago. But it was clearly a bird that had been in Kensington Gardens, because it knew me and strolled up for a peanut.

A Jay on a tree beside the Long Water raised its crest.

The female Little Owl near the Albert Memorial appeared briefly at the front of her hole.

The owl near the Henry Moore statue sat low in her hole to keep out of the cold wind. She is noticeably tougher than the other Little Owls, and stays out in conditions that make the others go indoors.


  1. Gosh, I’ve never seen a Egyptian Goose like that. Would it have been a pale chick? If so, it did well to survive

    1. It would have been a very pale chick. Blondie, not nearly as pale as this one, was conspicuous from the moment she hatched.

  2. This is off-message, I know; but having spent a good deal of Sunday looking, fruitlessly, at the tops of hornbeams for Hawfinches (of whom we are told there is this month a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to get a sighting) I was wondering if you or any of your irregular readers had any more tangible suggestions for spotting Coccothraustes coccothraustes in the greater London area . . . ?? Thank you!