Thursday, 4 January 2018

Both the Peregrines were on the tower of the Household Cavalry Barracks.

The male shook out his feathers in the brisk wind and flew away.

The female Little Owl near the Albert Memorial looked out of her hole on a dim damp morning.

But it was mild, and this encouraged a Song Thrush in a nearby tree to start singing. He was very shy and I couldn't get near him.

It's not unusual for Song Thrushes to sing in midwinter. But Blackbirds are more reluctant to start, so it was pleasing to hear the male Blackbird in the Dell practising quietly in the middle of a bush.

Before I could pick up the video camera he came out on the grass. He no longer minds me pointing a camera at him, and hops around looking for worms almost at my feet.

Behind him, a party of Long-Tailed Tits were busy at the feeder.

This feeder is safely behind railings. But some evil person has already stolen one of the feeders in the Rose Garden again. May asses dance on the graves of his ancestors.

The mild weather also encouraged a pair of Great Crested Grebes to start courting ...

... and to work up into the full dance with weed. Sorry about the shaky video. With the very narrow field of view of a fully zoomed camera it's hard to catch them as they surface.

Afterwards they went off together to examine nest sites.

But this is just play. They are unlikely to nest even when spring comes, as they prefer to wait till midsummer when there is a plentiful supply of small fish for the chicks.

A pair of Mute Swans were also in the mood for love.

The blond male Egyptian preened beside the Serpentine.

As I was going home over the bridge I saw the second pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull on a post below, and was about to take a routine shot when he flew off and grabbed a small fish out of the water twenty feet away. Heaven knows how he managed to see it from his low vantage point.

He was chased round the lake by several Herring Gulls, but kept his catch.


  1. Blackbirds sometimes seem to identify a 'safe zone' close to people as if they feel more secure there from surprise predator attack than if feeding in isolation. I'm not sure if they are actually much safer, as I've once been passed by a sparrowhawk so closely from behind I could hear it whirr. Gull behaviour is interesting, I had assumed that gulls couldn't simply do that against healthy fish in open water. Jim

    1. Thanks for the information. I am deliberately making friends with this Blackbird by giving him sultanas.

      The fish may have been sick and floating near the surface. The gull saw it, I didn't until it had been grabbed.

    2. After reading your account I did find this youtube clip which seems to show I was wrong anyway. Jim