Tuesday, 27 February 2018

A view from the Italian Garden loggia to the Long Water during a morning snow shower.

Someone had given one of the nymphs a jaunty ice fascinator.

There had been less wind in the night, so some ice had formed on the Italian Garden ponds. A first-year Herring Gull bit experimentally at this interesting substance.

A Moorhen ate a bit of kiwi fruit that someone had dropped. Birds -- even the omnivorous Moorhens -- don't usually bother with watery fruit, so it must have been very hungry.

A Mandarin drake dashed around while people fed the ducks in front of the Peter Pan statue.

A female was also there, so they aren't all nesting.

A pair of Gadwalls fed on the edge of the Serpentine, untroubled by the falling snow.

Surprisingly, two Little Owls were out, the hardy female in the lime tree near the Henry Moore sculpture ...

... and the one in the oak near the Albert Memorial, fluffed up against the cold.

Two Jays followed me down the Long Water, begging for peanuts. The frozen ground makes it hard for them to dig up the nuts they have buried themselves.

A Carrion Crow probed the bark of a cherry tree, looking for bugs.

There were lots of Redwings to the east of the Dell ...

... and some at Queen's Gate, but it was one of the Mistle Thrushes that got the worm while I was there.

During a brief interval of hazy sunlight, a Pied Wagtail hunted insects on the path. Even in icy weather there are tiny larvae to be had.

A Robin perched on a tree stump, waiting to be fed. It needs to snow a bit more before I can get a classic Christmas card shot.


  1. Fascinator, well there's an English word I didn't know. Wonder if it was an ice spike plucked from somewhere nearby. Jim

    1. It would indeed be fascinating if it were an ice spike, but I think it was just a thin sliver of broken ice.

  2. Oh, I hope you'll get a Robin Christmas card! That would make my week.

    I've read that robins are the birds of Christmas in England because Christmas card-carrying postmen in the nineteen century wore red jackets, so they came to be called "robins", and that is why there are so many robins in Christmas cards. Is that true?

    Truly magical pictures of the snow today. It is so beautiful- but on the other hand the birds are clearly so very hungry. Poor things.

    1. The name Robin for the bird is much older than that, and goes back to the medieval habit of giving birds personal names: Robin Redbreast, Jenny Wren, Philip Sparrow, Jack Daw and so on. Different parts of the names have survived.

    2. And did you know about Ralph for Raven, presumably as you pronounce your name? See Knowing Birds by their First Names (2016 post). Kittiwake is a debateable inclusion, but Jack Snipe would seem to have some merit. Jim

    3. Thanks. No, I'd never heard that.

    4. I cannot write :-( What I meant (and absolutely made a botched job of it) is that the red-jacketed postmen were called "robins" after the birds.

      In some parts of Spain magpies are called "Marica", "little Mary".

      How is Ralph pronounced? I've heard both /Ra:f/ and /Reif/.

    5. I hadn't heard about postmen being called 'robins', but it seems likely enough.

      My name is pronounced Reif, but if people call me Ralf I never correct them.

  3. I wonder whether mandarins might eat kiwi or kiwis eat mandarin (orange)?

    Lovely pictures as ever Ralph, and sorry I pronounced your name incorrectly when I met you a few months ago. So you are in good company with Vaughan Williams! Janet

    1. 'Do cats eat bats? Do bats eat cats?'
      --- Lewis Carroll