Saturday, 20 January 2018

While I am grounded by an injured ankle, readers have been kindly sending in excellent pictures of birds both inside the park and out. Please keep them coming. You can send them to an email address I've set up for the purpose,

It's a nasty wet day here, but here is a fine picture by David Element of the female Little Owl near the Albert Memorial enjoying the sunshine a few days ago.

She also sometimes perches at the front of the hole when it's raining. There's a hole in the top of the branch, so she needs to stand forward to avoid being dripped on.

These two pictures were taken yesterday by Virginia. A pair of Egyptian Geese were making a hullabaloo in the Diana fountain enclosure.

The eastern part of the enclosure, away from the watercourse, is not much visited by people. It has become a haven for geese of all kinds to graze on the expensive specially laid turf, and for Herring Gulls to search for worms. Egyptians are territorial birds, and when too many are packed into this fairly small enclosure, disputes tend to break out.

A Black-Headed Gull finished off a preening session by stretching its wings.

Four more recent pictures by David Element. This is one of those tight groups that Common Gulls get into when  they are chasing each other. It's a very difficult subject to photograph, fast moving and only lasting a few seconds, and I've never got a satisfactory picture of it myself.

Sunlight brings up the splendid iridescence of a Mallard drake's head.

Now we leave the park. This Great Northern Diver has just made a catch at Poole Park in Dorset.

This is not a species that has ever been seen in the park here. But Little Egrets, which are becoming more common, have started visting occasionally. Normally birds of the heron family land in trees preciesly and elegantly, but this one missed its footing badly in a willow and only just managed to hang on.

The last four pictures were sent in by Tinúviel, who lives in Extremadura in Spain. House Martins are familiar birds, but you don't often get the chance of a close-up shot of one attending a nest in a doorway. Its characteristic white rump is hidden by its folded wings.

Linnets are also occasionally seen in the park here, though I have only got photographs of them at Rainham Marshes.

A White Stork nested on a ruined house in the village of Logrosán.

A young Griffon Vulture looked down hopefully from a road sign, but the photographer obstinately remained alive.

Vultures are now getting into Spanish towns, where they are often stranded, either because they have not found food and are hungry and weak, or because they have found food and have gorged themselves to such an extent that they are too heavy to fly. They have to be rescued by the police, who turn out with blankets and pet carriers. Here is some amusing and touching footage from Spanish television showing a vulture being rounded up in Toledo.


  1. Get well soon Ralph. It's very good to keep the birding photos coming via other people's efforts. Your blog has even gone international! Take good care.

    1. Thank you.It's good that while I'm tied down here the blog is enjoying a Spanish holiday. Some pictures from Poland have just arrived too.

  2. Sorry to hear you are laid up, will trawl through my back catalogue for pics from the park. Failing that you can have some Belfast birds!

  3. Will try to get good pictures of sparrows tomorrow. I hope they will behave.

    It is so lovely to see that so many people from so different places come together for Ralph. It is the least we can do.

    I especially like the fine sheen on the Mallard's head!

    1. It would be wonderful to have some pictures of Sparrows. They are sadly missed in central London.