Tuesday 13 November 2018

Redwings are returning for the winter, and there was one in the ash tree on Buck Hill which is handily placed for a raid on the fruit in the rowan trees next to it.

The only bird actually in the rowan was a Blackbird.

The scarcity of Mistle Thrushes means that the fruit is lasting well.

A flock of Long-Tailed Tits flew through the Rose Garden ...

... where a Feral Pigeion blended well with a patch of pansies.

On the terrace of the Lido restaurant, Starlings were drawn to the irresistible odour of chocolate cake. Most people shoo them off, but they were lucky today.

A Magpie worked its way along the edge of the Serpentine Road, probing industriously in the crack between the kerbstones and the pavement. Evidently this is worth while for the insects it produces.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker called from a treetop next to the park greenhouses.

The Giant Woodpecker of Doom has just been set up in the enclosure of the Winter Wasteland, which will open in a few days. The mechanical man has yet to be fitted with his heavy canvas shirt. When this thing is switched on, the man ponderously twitches his head and arms, and the bird pecks and flaps its wings.

A few Gadwalls have arrived at the Vista, after being absent from the lake for months. St James's Park is absolutely crammed with Gadwalls, but we only get occasional visits here.

A handful of Shovellers crossed the lake. I must have missed them yesterday when I was looking for them. There are plenty of bushes for them to lurk under.

The Black Swan was also at the Vista, looking round warily at the dominant Mute Swans, but everything remained peaceful.

A pair of swans flew up the Serpentine.

A Little Grebe went past the reed bed opposite Peter Pan, diving busily.

Black-Headed Gulls use similar displays for courtship and to subdue rivals. They extend their wings slightly, lower their heads, and moan.

Here the display is definitely an aggressive one. But you can see it used for courtship at

There is another clip of rivalry at

Cormorants often flap their wings for minutes on end. The conventional explanation is that they are drying their feathers, but it has also been suggested that flapping helps them to digest a heavy meal of fish.

The shire horses were having an easy time on Buck Hill. All the mowing has been done, so they only need to take away dead leaves which the visiting young bankers have raked into heaps and will load on to their cart.


  1. Perhaps a Cormorant's flapping its wings after a heavy meal is like a human's taking a post-supper walk? I know that when I have eaten too much the urge to take a walk and let it all be digested more quickly is irrisistible.

    How astonishingly beautiful are the colours in the pigeon picture!

    1. Yes, perhaps even Cormorants feel uncomfortable after eating a large amount of raw fish. I don't know when they feel full, but I have seen a Grey Heron eat over one third of its weight in sausages.

  2. Co-incidentally I was feeding some Black-Headed Gulls in a pond today and one was making unusual plaintive moans, then I noticed it was particularly dominant. Jim

    1. Moaning accompanied by trotting around. The mate accompanies the moaner and mirrors his actions, but rivals are deterred.

  3. Nicely caught contrast of the old-style horses and their man with the mobile..

    1. Judging by his expression, he needs reading glasses for the tiny writing on the screen.