Thursday 1 November 2018

It was a rainy day, but the autumn leaves on Buck Hill were beautiful.

A Rose-Ringed Parakeet was eating fruit in one of the rowan trees ...

... and a Wood Pigeon was wondering how to reach a large bunch without falling out of the tree.

In the next tree, a few seconds of sunlight lit up a rather damp Jay.

In the Rose Garden, a Chaffinch ...

... and a Coal Tit waited for me to fill up the feeder.

A Great Tit perched in the red oak near the leaf yard.

The female Peregrine was on the tower in a drenching downpour, spreading her wings and taking the opportunity of a wash.

Blackbirds like rain, as it brings up worms.

And Great Crested Grebes are utterly indifferent to it.

A Heron on the bridge was waiting for the man who gives them sardines, but looked hopefully at me as I passed. The Carrion Crows were also expecting a treat.

Crows sneaked up behind a young Grey Heron in the Dell to pull its tail. Crows and herons are longstanding enemies, and this is one of the crows' favourite tricks.

The Black-Headed Gull with ring number EY09813 has turned up in his usual spot at the Vista, unusually late. He now has a mate, and the two were stepping out together.

A pair of Black Swans in St James's Park have four cygnets, which are almost the same shade of grey as Mute Swan cygnets. But it's not an altogether happy story, as there were seven originally. I'm not sure what has been taking them, but Herring Gulls were flying around.

The Bar-Headed Geese and Greylags in St James's Park have interbred and the hybrids are fertile, so that there are all kinds of combinations.

A harmonious sunset picture of a Short-Eared Owl taken yesterday by Tom at Rainham Marshes.

If all goes well I shall go there tomorrow afternoon, and hope to have some pictures for you.


  1. The last brood of Black Swan cygnets at St James’s Park were all lost, sadly. I really hope some of this brood survive. I was encouraged to see one of the parents chase off an irritating Herring Gull.
    The Mute Swans here don’t seem to have any problems protecting their youngsters.
    The Gadwalls in St James’s are looking particularly handsome at the moment

    1. I was surprised and saddened to see that Black Swans are less effective at guarding their cygnets. One of the young ones wandered off by itself while I was there, though it did return when called back by its mother.

      I admired the Gadwalls. Hope some come up to the Serpentine, as they often do.

  2. Is that Black-Headed Gull known to be a he? Was that determined at the breeding site? Jim

    1. No, it wasn't, and I don't know. But EY is bigger than the other one.

  3. I love the Park in autumn. The colours are so lovely and warm.

    Very sad news about the cygnets. Are there large pikes in the lake? I have read that they sometimes prey on cygnets. I'd rather not think about it.

    EY and his mate look so elegant together. As if they were getting ready to dance the foxtrot.

    A splendid picture of the Short-Eared Owl!

  4. BTW, I just happened to notice that Ralph's youtube channel has more than 1700 subscribers already. Congrats!

    1. There may very well be pike in the lake. There are in the Long Water, and I've seen one of them have a go at a duckling -- unsuccessful, but there's always another chance.

      Odd about the YouTube subscribers. It's all just down to that gull film. With few exceptions, the rest of the stuff on there isn't even intended for viewing in its own right.

  5. Nice footage of the Black Swans. I'm hoping to see the Shortie tomorrow when I go to Rainham. Mainly to see the 2 Cattle Egrets. They've had a purple patch with Rough-legged Buzzard + a couple of Hen Harriers earlier in the week. Hopefully still in the area!

    1. Good luck. The owl is said to be visible from the sea wall, so it doesn't matter that the reserve shuts at 4.30.