Saturday 29 December 2018

The last of the fruit on the rowan tree on Buck Hill was being polished off by two Redwings ...

... and a small group of Blackbirds.

Most of the Blackbirds were on the ground eating fallen fruit.

You can see the five-pointed indentation in the bottom of the fruit which shows that it is not a berry but a fruit like a little apple or rosehip, with five seeds.

A Green Woodpecker called from a plane tree on the path between the Albert Memorial and the Physical Energy statue. A few seconds later a woodpecker flew into the top of a tree, and I rushed round the tree trying to photograph the elusive bird, getting just one pretty bad picture. But surprisingly it turned out to be of a Great Spotted Woodpecker. I never saw the Green Woodpecker at all.

A Feral Pigeon pecked vigorously at half a sausage left over from someone's breakfast at the Dell restaurant, knocking over bottles in its enthusiasm.

The female Little Owl near the Queen's Temple emerged from her hole in the afternoon.

Cormorants fished over the submerged wire baskets filled with twigs that were put under the bridge to act as a fish hatchery. These are a breeding ground for perch, but the perch seem to have grown up and moved out, and the fish I have seen Cormorants catching recently are probably small roach.

Another Cormorant caught one under the parapet of the Italian Garden. It was getting a fish every minute, all of them about this size.

A pair of Great Crested Grebes is now hanging around under the collapsed willow tree next to the bridge, whose yellow twigs you can see in this picture. They have started building a nest once, though they abandoned it. I do hope they don't nest seriously, as there are certainly not enough very small fish to feed the chicks at this time of year.

A little group of Red-Crested Pochards has arrived on the Serpentine. They only visit occasionally, flying in from Regent's Park or St James's Park where they are more numerous.

A single Red-Crested Pochard drake preened in a fountain in the Italian Garden. A female Mallard seemed to admire his showy plumage, but he wasn't interested in her.

The pair of Grey Herons were together in the lower nest on the island, the only one that is easy to see.

There was also a pair on the fourth nest on the other side of the island, which can only be seen through obstructing twigs. This is a view from the far side of the lake.

There was one heron in each of the other two nests.

I'm including these two pictures because someone commenting on the video about the pigeon-killing gull on my YouTube channel expressed surprise that the gull doesn't use its feet to grasp the pigeon when eating it. Gulls' feet are small and not strong, good enough for running or swimming but really no use at all for holding things. Their webbed toes don't clench tightly, and the hind toe, essential for a good grip, is much reduced and doesn't touch the ground when it stands.

This second-winter Herring Gull has chosen to sit on the joint of the rail of the Lido jetty because it's more comfortable for its flat feet than the more sharply curved railing.

And this young Black-Headed Gull stands lengthwise on a chain at the bridge, where a bird with perching or gripping feet would have stood sideways on.


  1. Let us all thank the Almighty that Gulls do not (yet) have talons. They are on the verge of inventing the wheel already: they do not need any more natural advantages!

    The Red-Crested Pochard is looking mighty fine. It's funny how it fluffs up and slicks down its crest. I imagine it will reflect its moods.

    My grandparents used to remove incipient nests when they wished to discourage their birds from nesting early. I guess that may not be done for the Grebes, if they persist in being silly?

    1. I don't think the grebes are in earnest yet. They mess around for ages before actually nesting. They were dancing today -- unfortunately behind a tree so I couldn't film them. But that is not a sign of imminent nesting.