Wednesday 28 March 2018

It rained steadily all morning and drizzle continued into the early afternoon. Rain sends the Little Owls into their holes except for the oddly hardy female near the Henry Moore sculpture, who stood outside her hole getting wet.

A very bedraggled Grey Wagtail looked for insects under a column at the Lido restaurant.

It's a Tuscan column and should have only one volute on its base. But the building was put up in 1930, by which time architects had forgotten about such niceties.

There were Pied Wagtails all over the grass to the east of the Triangle car park and along the north shore of the Serpentine.

Coots assemble on the shore of the Serpentine below the car park because people drive in to feed the waterfowl and can't be bothered to walk farther along the shore. The Coots, intent on one thing, don't fight each other here. There may be as many as a hundred in this place.

Some Mandarin drakes were passing Peter Pan when a Coot launched itself at the leader for no reason.

A Moorhen poked around for scraps of food under a table on the deserted terrace of the Dell restaurant.

Another stood close to a Mute Swan on the little nesting island in the Long Water. This picture was taken from an awkward place through undergrowth in the hope of seeing an egg in the nest, and I think one is just visible.

A Great Crested Grebe's neck is so flexible that it can preen the back of its neck. with its bill.

A Dunnock found a grub in the shrubbery near the bridge.

While I was refilling the feeder in the Rose Garden, a hungry Blue Tit waited inches away and flew to the feeder the moment I let go of it. Then it perched on a twig to eat a sunflower seed.

One of the Rose Garden Robins waited on a rail to be fed. It had stayed dry by sheltering in an evergreen bush.

Song Thrushes like rain because it brings up worms. This one was singing enthusiastically near the bridge.

An earthworm inched slowly over the waterlogged path, more swimming than crawling. No bird noticed it  before it reached cover on the other side.

As a change from the ordinary birds of the soggy park, here are two pictures sent in by Tinúviel, taken by one of her students on a visit to Salamanca. This is an Alpine Accentor, Prunella collaris, a near relative of our Dunnock.

And here is a White-Winged Snowfinch. Montifringilla nivalis.


  1. Unsophisticated creature that I am, I actually like ordinary birds best of all. Give me ordinary, plain fare any day!

    That poor Little Owl looks miserable in the rain. They must be hardy birds, though, given their enjoyment of warmth and a little sun.

    How do you all cope with the frequent rain? I assume it must be a matter of habit. Until the beginning of this week it rained almost nonstop for the last 20 days or so, and much as I like the rain, every place I went was a variation of soggy, waterlogged, drenched, or simply inundated. We simply are unaccostumed to it.

    I wish I had taken a picture of two Magpies taking shelter from the rain underneath the small ledge of the building in front of my main window. They were so close together to fit into the very small dry space they looked like glued together.

    1. You get used to rain. In the west of Ireland, exposed to Atlantic depressions, it rains almost constantly. 'A soft day,' they say mildly, standing out in the downpour.

  2. Volute, another word I never knew. Jim

    1. These are the five orders in their Roman form, from from Vignola's Regola delli cinque ordini d'architettura, 1562.

  3. My dad was an architect, and I grew up with Banister/Fletcher's "History of Architecture on the Comparative Method"... 'Volute' is a very fine word, a very fine word indeed; but at the risk of making Ralph discomfited, it's the wrong word. Volutes are at the top pf columns, this is at the base. I think 'torus' would be best; you could get away with 'astragal' (though they're usually smaller), or arguably even 'collar'. But not volute!

    1. You're right. I realised this later, to my chagrin.