Tuesday 18 December 2018

The female Little Owl near the Queen's Temple was looking out of the hole.

While I was photographing her the usual Jay came to take a peanut from my hand, and extracted the nuts from the shell with practised speed in less than ten seconds.

A Coal Tit was not deterred by a Rose-Ringed Parakeet on one of the Rose Garden feeders.

Under the other feeder, the male Chaffinch looked around as he sat waiting for the tits to spill sunflower seeds on the ground.

A Long-Tailed Tit hung upside down to investigate a bunch of dead leaves for possible bugs.

You can often see a pair of Dunnocks near the customer entrance of the Lido swimming area, under the benches or in the red-stemmed dogwood bush on the other side of the path.

There were two Black-Headed Gulls in the marble fountain in the Italian Garden. One had a bath, the other a shower.

Quite a few of the Black-Headed Gulls are now growing the dark heads of their breeding plumage -- which are actually chocolate brown, not black.

The young birds get their dark heads before they are fully out of their juvenile plumage. They don't look fully adult till their second year.

The patch of plants in the Dell where the young Grey Heron used to look for rats has been cut down for the winter, but the heron is still hanging around there out of habit. Presumably it manages to catch fish in the stream, though I have never seen it succeed here.

On the island, several herons were flying in and out of all three nests -- this is the upper one, visible only in winter. Maybe a cold snap will dissuade them from breeding prematurely.

Nothing stops Egyptian Geese from breeding. This is the pair I saw mating under the Henry Moore sculpture a couple of days ago. They were sitting around complacently in the same spot. As far as I know, they have never managed to bring up a brood successfully here.

The enormous area occupied by the Winter Wasteland obliges people walking across the park to detour north or south of it, creating an empty triangle of grass. The geese take advantage of it, with the Canadas to the west and the Greylags near the wall of the funfair.

The white Mallard preened in the shade of the island.

An unbroken row of Cormorants sat on the posts at Peter Pan.


  1. "Winter Wasteland". I like it. Jim

  2. How curious that the Chaffinch should sit itself like that. I had never seen a small bird do that before except in very ill health. But it seems to be doing fine, alert and quick to react.

    The Gull's care in stepping out of its bath reminds me of my own attempts not to fall flat on my face in similar situations.

    1. Chaffinches are oddly prone to flopping down. I thought it was the virus disease that attacks the feet of Chaffinches and both our species of Wagtail, especially Grey. But when I saw this bird standing up yesterday its legs were all right.