Thursday 4 October 2018

Chaffinches are getting rare in the park, badly hit by a virus disease. So it was a surprise to see four today. This male was near a feeder in the Rose Garden, waiting for a chance to dodge through the mob of Rose-Ringed Parakeets.

A female was deep in the bushes at the southwest corner of the leaf yard, a place too dark for a picture. And there was a pair in shrubbery at the southwest corner of the bridge, also unphotographable.

There was just enough light here to get a picture of one of the Dunnocks, perfectly camouflaged in leaf litter (which will no doubt soon be blasted away by a leaf blower, destroying the habitat of many small birds).

One of the Coal Tits came out of the bushes to be fed.

A parakeet ate yew berries in a tree near the Henry Moore sculpture. They don't really eat them, they just chew them a bit to extract the juice and then spit them out. The stones are poisonous, but are hard enough to pass through a bird's digestive tract unaltered, and thrushes eat the whole berry with impunity. Also, parakeets eat yew leaves, which are just as poisonous.

A Carrion Crow was disarranged by a change in the wind.

It also caught one of the young Grey Herons as it stood on the boathouse roof.

The other young heron was on the dead willow near the Italian Garden, hardly visible against the branches, waiting for a fish to forget it was there.

Herons have a large personal space, and when they get too close to each other the result is always a squabble and a chase.

The Coots that nested at the Serpentine outflow have reclaimed their territory from the Moorhen squatting there.

At the west end of the island, a popular hangout for Cormorants, one had a wash and then jumped awkwardly on to a post to dry.

A young Herring Gull won the race to grab part of an ice cream cone, still with some ice cream in it.

We haven't yet reached the stage seen in some resorts where Herring Gulls grab cones out of people's hands. This picture was taken in Cornwall, and there are plenty from other coastal towns on the web.

On Tuesday I showed a picture of an aged or infirm Canada Goose drinking from the Serpentine near the island. It's always in the same place, usually standing in an odd nose-down attitude. So far it seems to have managed to avoid being attacked by the dogs that irresponsible owners allow to run free and attack birds.

This squirrel wasn't so lucky. After the dog killed it, the woman who owned the dog was congratulated by other owners. Truly these people live in a weird private world where everything their pet does is funny and lovely.

A strange survival from the past, seen on the South Carriage Drive. It must be extraordinarily difficult getting spare parts for a De Lorean.


  1. It's distressing what some dog owners will allow their dogs to get away with without disciplining the animal. But it is only logical if one remembers that dogs are replacing children slowly. Those who would have been bad, irresponsible parents if they had reproduced themselves will be bad, irresponsible dog owners. They are just projecting their profound inadequacy as educators (as citizens and members of a community, really) on their dogs like they would on their children.

    I remember an old episode of Wheeler Dealers in which the hosts repaired and sold a De Lorean. Perhaps it was that very one.

    1. All too true that dogs reproduce the character of their owners. It makes confronting the owner of a badly behaved dog doubly difficult.

      I discovered that an American firm has restarted making De Loreans in small numbers, for $100,000 each. A lot for an awful thing, so there must be some cult appeal. But this one was old and shabby -- look how badly the door fits -- and must be original.

  2. I've almost come to blows trying to persuade dog owners not to encourage their dogs from going in to the water (despite clear signs saying no swimming and dogs should be on the leash) where they chase and upset the waterfowl. I've got to the point where I avoid walking near the open stretch opposite the Henry Moore statue and the Round Pond because I get so angry with horrible dog owners who always say 'it's the dogs' instincts' and 'natural'.