Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Both Peregrines were back on the tower of the Household Cavalry barracks, but perched some distance apart. This is the female ...

... and this is the male. (A falconer would refer to them as the falcon and the tiercel.)

The female decided it was time to go hunting.

The female Little Owl near the Henry Moore sculpture was out in her usual place ...

... and so was the one near the Albert Memorial, who stayed at the front of her hole for several hours enjoying the sunshine.

A pair of Mistle Thrushes flew rattling into a nearby tree.

There was also a pair of Coal Tits, the first ones I have seen in this spot. They took food thrown on the ground, but it takes a while for these tiny birds to get used to you and come to your hand.

In the Dell, a Long-Tailed Tit waited for its turn on a crowded feeder.

A Goldcrest looked out of an evergreen bush near the bridge.

A Jay perched on the wall of the Italian Garden and looked at me expectantly until I gave it a peanut.

The white-faced Blackbird can find sultanas quite easily in the scrubby grass, I think by smell.

A Cormorant in the Long Water under the balustrade of the Italian Garden, after many tries, found a small fish, which came up with a tangle of weed.

Its next dive produced nothing but an old plastic bag.

A Great Crested Grebe was fishing under the willow near the bridge, but got bored and cruised off somewhere else.

The pale Egyptian Goose is still at the Round Pond.

A Common Gull perched on a pipe on the Round Pond and surveyed the busy traffic of birds passing by.


  1. Did the cormorant manage to shake off the weed or is it harmless to them? Do they ever land a catch like that to pick out the fish? Jim

    1. They always seem to be able to extract the fish from the weed and swallow it before shaking away the weed.

  2. What a lovely word, tiercel! It sounds a bit like 'cellar door', which Tolkien thought were some of the most beautiful-sounding words in English.

    For us lowly earthbound creatures it's almost miraculous how the Peregrine just stretches her wings and nonchalantly throws herself off a veritable precipice. What a wondrous creature. Great steady hand capturing the scene from so long away, too!

    Love the Common Gull's relaxed but curious attitude. In my next life I want to be a gull.

    1. The male is called a tiercel because he's two thirds the size of the female. It's from Middle French terçuel and Latin tertiolus.

      The video was taken with the camera on a little flexible GorillaPod resting on a muddy football field. No way of holding it still enough by hand at a zoom equivalent to 2000mm pointing up at a tower 100m tall.

  3. I was once told 'cellar-door' was Elgar's choice of fave word, but actually it seems to be common currency thus as early as 1903, according to the "New York Times":

    That article includes an entertaining Gertrude Stein pastiche: “Sell a cellar, door a cellar, sell a cellar cellar-door, door adore, adore a door, selling cellar, door a cellar, cellar cellar-door."

    1. Sweet wafts of celadour beguile my sense:
      Regale me now with jujubes, nard and myrrh
      That I may revel in Elysium.

  4. Is that your own composition? I've had to look up almost half of it in the dictionary!

  5. Yes. I can churn out blank verse by the yard if required. See this silly thing if you can stand any more of it.

    1. You really do have a gift for words, so it's not amazing that you are as good at writing poetry as you are at writing very enjoyable prose.