Saturday, 13 January 2018

A Wren searched for insects in the bark of a tree near the Italian Garden.

A Long-Tailed Tit was searching in its own way, by leaping from twig to twig. You have to rush around frantically to get a clear shot before the bird moves on.

With birds you can feed, like Great Tits, there's plenty of time to take your picture. But they get impatient, so it's kind to be quick about it.

A Jackdaw collected a peanut from the ground and flew up to a branch to open it.

The Robin at the back of the Lido has been driven out of its territory by tree felling, but it still has a place in a hedge that it can sing from, and which provides a nest site.

I have a nasty feeling that the cleared area is going to be turned into another boring flower bed. It was a habitat not only for this Robin but for Wrens, Goldcrests and Blackbirds, and I have also seen Cetti's Warblers in it. That does not matter to the park management or their supine ecology team.

The Grey Herons have become so used to people that you could take a close-up shot by shoving a mobile phone in their face.

One of the mysteries of the park is why every winter brings 50 or more Common Gulls to the small pond but only half a dozen to the large lake.

Two Cormorants were fishing together over the wire baskets next to the bridge. Cooperative fishing produces more fish for both birds, as one drives the fish towards the other. But this area is almost fished out, and I didn't see them catching anything.

Two pairs of Great Crested Grebes were cruising at the east end of the Serpentine, occasionally making territorial calls at each other, but it didn't turn into a full threat display. This grebe is certainly male, as you can see from his solid build and broad head with a crest in a wide-angled V shape.

On the shore nearby, one of the two blue-eyed Greylag Geese stood next to a normal one. You can see how much bigger it is. It may be a cross between a domestic goose and a wild Greylag, but domestic geese are simply Greylags bred for size, so it would not be a hybrid.

The white Mallard was under the parapet of the the fake bridge at the Serpentine outflow, allowing a shot from directly above. This is not a white domestic duck but a leucistic wild Mallard, and is absolutely the normal size.

This picture was taken yesterday by Shailesh Patel at the London Wetland Centre in Barnes. It is almost certainly the isabel Egyptian Goose that was at the Round Pond earlier this week.

Only one Little Owl was visible, the female in the lime tree near the Henry Moore sculpture. But one owl is enough to make a day.


  1. One owl a day keeps the blues away! (or was it apples and doctors?).

    Regarding hybrids, I've always wondered how hybrid gulls, ducks and geese are able to have offspring. They are different species, right? It's not like dogs or cats or pigeons.

    1. Birds seem to copy with hybridisation more easily than mammals. (And with inbreeding.) The Canada--Greylag hybrid geese have parents of two different genera, let alone species -- as far as genus and species are genuine concepts now that taxonomy has got so fragmented -- and are sterile. Hybrids between Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-Backs are fertile, and no doubt this applies to all the closely related largish Larus species. I think that Aythya hybrids, such as the Pochard--Tufted Duck hybrids we have on the Long Water, are also fertile.