Monday 8 October 2018

I couldn't see why this Carrion Crow was so interested in what seemed to be an ordinary cigarette packet on the edge of the Serpentine. Back home, I looked up the name, Esse Change, and discovered that it was a peculiar South Korean brand that starts off as clove favoured and then changes to apple mint as you smoke, so the packet smelt as if there were something edible inside.

Near the Round Pond a pair of Jackdaws were busily pecking at something in the grass. It turned out to be the paper wrapper of a chocolate cupcake. A lot of birds love chocolate cake. It's probably not good for them, but they only get a few crumbs.

A visit to the rowan trees on Buck Hill produced nothing but a Jay, which was more interested in being given a peanut than in the fruit on the tree.

But as I left, a small group of Mistle Thrushes rattled overhead and landed in the maple tree were they usually gather for a mass raid on the rowans.

Another Jay landed in the grass near the Italian Garden, carrying an acorn ...

... and dug a hole to bury it.

Although Jays are pretty good at remembering where they have buried nuts, sometimes they forget a few, which is why there are little oak saplings in unexpected places all over Kensington Gardens.

A Pied Wagtail hunting insects beside the Serpentine was constantly calling. Perhaps its mate was somewhere near.

A Treecreeper climbed a tree near the Henry Moore sculpture.

A Rose-Ringed Parakeet ate berries in a cotoneaster bush near Peter Pan.

A Lesser Black-Backed Gull gave the camera a severe stare.

One of the young Grey Herons stood in a treetop on the island.

The three young Great Crested Grebes near the island were still begging noisily for food. The father arched his neck back preparing to dive ...

... and down he went.

The young Mute Swan in the Italian Garden fountain had a visit from what seems to be his father.

Today's mystery picture: why on earth did someone bring a large jar of pickled onions into the park only to abandon it?


  1. You get the strangest things happening at times.

    Is that fatherly affection in the swan? It looks as if it was consoling or soothing its child.

    I love how fast on their little legs Wagtails are. It always puts a smile on my face. BTW, I always thought birds had a poor sense of smell? I'm not sure about that, but I think I have read it.

  2. It does seem that those swans are part of a family, and I've several times seen them companionably side by side. Perhaps the young swan's minor injury, from which I hope it will soon recover, has triggered a bit of parental instinct, but wouldn't say more than that.

    I've read that at least some birds have quite a good sense of smell. And of course Kiwis hunt entirely by smell. Probably every creature in the world has a better sense of smell than humans.

    Speaking of which, I took the lid off that jar of pickled onions and put it behind the railings while three crows were watching, When I passed by an hour later they hadn't touched it. Probably the smell of the cheap chemical vinegar used in ordinary pickled onions put them off.