Thursday 1 March 2018

A Dunlin displaced by the icy weather ran along the edge of the Serpentine. This is only the second time I've seen one in the park.

So I make no apology for including a still picture as well as the video.

A Rock Pipit landed on the jetty at the Lido, and there was just time for a quick shot. The odd background is the blue plastic non-slip mat for bathers.

Update: I'm corrected -- this is a Meadow Pipit looking much darker than usual. I'd have thought the legs too dark for a Meadow Pipit, but other people know more than me.

A Goldfinch beside the Long Water was so hungry in the snowy conditions, and so busy eating seeds, that it allowed itself to be filmed close up.

This also seems worth an extra picture.

A Pied Wagtail was equally approachable when it perched on a twig beside the Lido.

Long-Tailed Tits are not worried by photographers. A few were flitting around in a tree beside the Serpentine.

The familiar Robin in the Rose Garden looked up appealingly for food. It's quite hard to feed them on snowy ground because the seeds sink in, but luckily there was a bare patch under a bush. I also refilled the feeder. Rani, who normally looks after it, has been kept out of the park by the icy weather.

The white-faced Blackbird came out for her usual treat of sultanas.

A Wren was climbing the same tree.

A Carrion Crow digging in the snow found something edible, which it swallowed before I could see what it was.

I was walking round the lake with Tom -- it's always good to have two pairs of eyes, and I would have missed several things above without him. We met another photographer, who had kindly put a bit of his sandwich on the back of the bench for a Moorhen.

A Little Grebe dozed under the willow near the bridge.

Next to the tree, the usual Red Crested Pochard, temporarily away from its companions, was hving a wash.

At the east end of the Serpentine the white Mallard and his mate passed by a couple of Shovellers.

The icicle-hung marble fountain in the Italian Garden is flanked by statues of river nymphs pouring the water of the Westbourne from urns. (Actually the water comes from a borehole, but never mind.)

Tom took this fine picture of Kestrels mating in Richmond Park yesterday.


  1. I wonder what the birds would do without so many kind persons looking out for them. The kindly touch of sharing his sandwich may have saved this Moorhen's life for the day.

    Poor, poor birds. They look so cold and hungry. The only one who looks at ease (aside from the ducks) is the Little Grebe, perhaps because it is sleeping the bad weather away (not a bad idea, btw).

    Lovely sighting of one of my favourite birds, a Dunlin! I've read that they are called like that because of their dun colour (it reminds me of Tolkien's Dunledings, men of the Brown Land).

    1. The Little Grebe is a very weather-resistant bird, as long as there is food to keep its furnace going -- and they can eat invertebrates as well as fish. Also, they can fluff themselves up to an enormous extent for insulation.

      I looked up the origin of the word dunlin, and it was originally 'dunling', a little brown creature. Mind you, there's a lot of wading birds that colour.

  2. Great to have spotted the Dunlin and Rock Pipit.

    But let’s hope this weather eases up soon, before there are too many avian casualties.

    1. Should be back to normal spring nastiness by Saturday.

  3. Ralph, the bird you labelled as Rock Pipit is 100% a Meadow Pipit (even though it's very tatty and soggy making breast streaks appear smokier than usual). Even long hind claw alone makes it Meadow Pipit. Also pink legs and pale bill base and more overall buff colour and mantle/scapulars diagnostic.

    1. Thank you. It is very dark, including its legs. But I'm no expert.

  4. Following on your Robin observation … I threw a couple of peanuts to some crows, which followed the trajectory and saw where they landed in the snow but couldn’t home in on the spot. They wandered around unable to find the food. Later I met a larger group, cleared away the snow with my boot and laid half a dozen peanuts down on the exposed grass. When I returned there were still three peanuts unclaimed. They were slightly tangled with the grass. It made me wonder if the crow’s visual system needs the objects to be discrete to be able to identify them since it’s obviously not its intelligence that’s lacking.

    1. I've noticed crows leaving peanuts in perfectly good visibility when they could have picked up two. Wondered whether they considered them not delicious enough for the work of shelling them all.

  5. Certainly some unusual reports from the weather. I noticed from Londonbirders a few Dunlin were around including the unusual location of Richmond Park. Sadly I expect there will be quite high mortality in some species such as Goldcrests, Dartford + Cetti's Warblers. Hopefully turning milder at the weekend.