Sunday, 17 June 2018

The first returning Black-Headed Gull landed on a post at the Vista. It's a year old, still with traces of brown juvenile plumage but with the dark brown head of breeding plumage ('black-headed' is a misnomer). 

Their annual migration may be long -- some come here from Finland. Or short -- some go no farther than the Pitsea landfill site just east of London.

The notorious pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull hasn't been seen much recently, but today he was in his usual place near the Dell restaurant. All the Feral Pigeons here know about him now, and gave him a wide berth. He's still killing pigeons and I often see the remains, but no longer here.

The Mute Swans on the Serpentine have taken to sitting on the north bank near the bridge. This was already the favourite place of the Coots, so there was a contrast of black and white.

A little farther along, the four youngest cygnets were being guarded by their mother.

The Canada Geese with 15 goslings have been taking them all round the lake. They know that people in pedalos often feed them, so today they came to the place where the boats are moored. Finding nothing, they went into the middle of the lake and at once struck lucky.

The goslings are now beginning to grow their adult, or at least teenage, plumage. You can see black tail feathers, and the blue wrappings of emerging wing feathers.

The Canadas who come to the park every June to moult include this one with a speckled white head. Some of the Canada-Gretlag hybrids have speckled heads, but this one is a pure Canada.

Two families of Greylags grazed behind the Lido.

Mallard drakes play no part in the upbringing of ducklings and may even attack them, so if one gets too close the mother sends him packing.

A Grey Heron looked askance at two Gadwalls that were disturbing its fishing.

The two Great Crested Grebe chicks, which have been separated recently and fed by with one parent each, were together in the middle of the lake, waiting for a fish to be delivered.

The Coot family from the nest at the Dell restaurant went along the edge of the terrace, hoping to be thrown scaps by diners.

This female Blackbird often comes to the little pool in the Dell to bathe. Today she just had a quick dip to help with preening.

A male Blackbird paused with a worm before carrying it off to the a nest near Queen's Gate.

A young Long-Tailed Tit stared curiously at the camera.


  1. Do more herring gulls come in when the black-headed gulls leave? That was my impression earlier this year but I wondered if it was just that I don’t notice them among the more numerous black-headed and so when the black-headed leave there appear to be more of them.

    1. Herring Gulls seem to come and go randomly, though rings show that we do get a few extra ones in winter. Most of our HGs are from the very successful breeding colony in Paddington, which is why so many of them are young birds.

  2. Oh, I love how the Long tailed Tit is looking at you. He looks very curious, I imagine because of the shiny object pointed at him.

    Those are the literate Coots from the other day, right?

    1. Yes, they are -- from the huge and impressive nest under the restaurant balcony.