Tuesday 22 January 2019

A young Herring Gull picked up a bit of wood from the Serpentine ...

...flew up to a considerable height and dropped it ...

... then swooped down to catch it in midair.

This is an essential skill for big gulls, which get a lot of food from smaller gulls and other birds by harassing them till they drop it. It takes a while to learn.

Three Little Owls were visible again today -- on the hill above the Henry Moore sculpture ...

... near the Albert Memorial ...

... and at the Queen's Temple.

This is a tree a few yards from the old hole of this last pair, thronged with Magpies. You can see why they moved.

Also near the Albert Memorial, one of the resident pair of Mistle Thrushes was out on a branch.

There was just one Peregrine on the barracks tower.

In the hawthorn tree on the terrace of the Dell restaurant, Starlings preened while waiting for a chance to swoop down and raid an unoccupied table.

Both Little Grebes could be seen in the distance on the Long Water.

A pair of Cormorants were fishing together over the submerged wire baskets next to the Serpentine bridge.

A Shoveller drake shone in the sunlight.

David Element got this fine shot of a Tufted drake in flight.

A pair of Mute Swans charged up the Serpentine.

A Buff-Tailed Bumblebee rested for a moment on a leaf in the Rose Garden. It left quickly a moment later when a squirrel came past.

The bush above it had a lot of flies in it, a surprising sight in January.


  1. Love the Bumblebee, so chubby and hairy. No wonder they are called the pandas of the insect world.

    For a bit I thought the Gull was practicing precision-bombing. I wouldn't put it past them.

    1. I'm sure a Herring Gull could drop something accurately on your head from a height. All that play gives them an instinctive grasp of ballistics.

  2. I’m curious about size and harassment. In the past, you’ve shown pictures of smallish birds harassing larger raptors. I’d assumed that the smaller birds got away with it because they were more manoeuvrable. Today, large gulls harass smaller birds to get them to drop food. Evidently manouverability for some reason is not in play.

    1. When small birds harass raptors, they do it as a mob -- in fact it's known as mobbing. There are exceptions, such as crows teasing herons, which can be quite a dangerous game. But mostly the smaller birds can get away with it because there's safety in numbers.

      By the way, please always comment on the most recent blog post, even if your question is about something earlier. Few revisit old posts, and I only saw your comment because all comments get relayed to my email account.