Tuesday 16 October 2018

The Nuthatches in the leaf yard have mastered the art of picking up two pine nuts at once.

Carrion Crows can also carry two peanuts, though it takes a bit of manoeuvring to grasp the second one.

When the mirror sculpture was put up at the Serpentine Gallery they were interested in their reflection, first looking round the back of the mirror to see if there was another crow behind it, then realising it was their own reflection and strutting around admiring themselves. Now they are completely used to it and take no notice at all.

A Jackdaw preened on a branch at the leaf yard.

A female Blackbird was in the middle of the yew tree in the Dell eating berries. She is still looking tatty after breeding and moulting.

A Starling on the railings at the Lido restaurant shone in the sunlight.

They like company when bathing.

A Wren crossed the top of the waterfall in the Dell.

A Great Tit stared challengingly from a twig.

The pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull was having lunch. He is now routinely taking two pigeons a day. Once he got three.

The young Mute Swans are now turning white. It's a gradual process and  they will still have some grey feathers right into next year.

A Greylag Goose washed and flapped. Geese and swans visibly enjoy their frantic baths.

A Tufted drake turned upside down to preen.

A Shoveller drake on the Long Water was in his full finery.

Pochard drakes don't change as much as the showier ducks do. Their ginger heads fade but the rest of them remains the same.


  1. All corvids pass the mirror test. For comparison, cats and dogs cannot.

    I finally saw a Mute Swan in the wild yesterday! It was clearly an escapee, and I think it was a female. It looked so very forlorn and lonely, as there was no other swan anywhere else in the river. I know they are not social creatures - but this one bird was clearly missing someone very much.

    1. I suppose there must be ornamental Mute Swans in Spanish cities, if they can stand the summer heat. The distribution map shows wild swans as summer visitors to Bulgaria, for some reason, but no farther south. Maybe this one was driven off a lake by one of those intense swan feuds.

  2. I would disagree about your comment regarding Pochard and eclipse. They do have an eclipse + though the contrast may seem less than other species they don't retain the chestnut head colour + other feathers are moulted though the colour looks the same.

    1. Thanks. I'm sure you're right. But we used to have a Pochard drake permanently on the lake -- he couldn't migrate because he had an injured wing -- and I can't recall ever having seen him look different.