Wednesday 21 November 2018

One of many jobs for Hugh Smith the Wildlife Officer: rescuing a Black-Headed Gull that had got entangled in discarded fishing tackle with a barbed hook through the web of its foot. Fishermen here are supposed to use barbless hooks.

The released gull limped away, looking a bit dazed. But it recovered in seconds and flew away to relieve its feelings by knocking another gull off a pedalo.

An odd couple of a Herring Gull and a Lesser Black-Backed Gull has been together on the Serpentine for several years.

I couldn't find the Black Swan yesterday, but today she was on the Serpentine and came over to be fed as usual.

A Tufted Duck swam through fallen leaves at Peter Pan.

A pair of Shovellers revolved together as the sun sank over the Round Pond.

One of the young Grey Herons has discovered that the wall of this boathouse doesn't extend to the bottom of the lake. It's supported on a reinforced concrete beam whose bottom is only an inch below the water. Fish lurk in the gap underneath. If they incautiously poke their heads out, they're lunch.

A pair of Great Crested Grebes were also looking for fish sheltering under the raft on the Long Water.

When you see more than two adult grebes resting peacefully together, it's a sign that they are about to fly out, or that they have just flown in. These grebes are probably alarmed by the possibility of frosty weather. With their very long takeoff run, they could be trapped if the lake froze (though in fact a patch is always kept clear for the water birds).

A Moorhen investigated a clump of algae that had fallen off the marble fountain in the Italian Garden. Moorhens can find food just about anywhere and eat just about anything.

A Carrion Crow bathed in the Diana fountain. In cold weather, when the fountain is deserted by humans, it's a popular spot for birds to drink and bathe in its carefully filtered water.

A Blackbird ...

... and a Starling ate fruit in the rowan trees on Buck Hill.

A Chaffinch looked for spilt bird seed under the feeder in the Rose Garden.

A Grey Squirrel ate a bread roll in a very determined manner. It looked as if it wasn't going to stop until it either finished the whole thing, or burst.


  1. Did you stick around to see if the squirrel finished the meal?

    1. No -- look at the size of that roll, it would have taken ages.

  2. There is always something disconcertingly human-like in how squirrells hold their meals while they eat.

    I am very happy to learn that the dazed gull did not remain dazed for long and continued to engange in its usual pursuits, like knocking other gulls off their perch. Dependable, they are.

    1. It's the squirrel's upright posture. Squirrels may be just rats with good PR, and rats can hold things in their paws, but they don't sit up.