Sunday 27 January 2019

The Great Black-Backed Gull was still on the posts at Peter Pan. Here it is among Lesser Black-Backed Gulls.

A stiff breeze allowed Black-Headed Gulls to hover motionless while trying to grab a bit of bread that someone was holding up.

This Grey Heron on the Mute Swans' island in the Long Water seems to be on land, but is actually fishing. The swans have torn a great hole in the island with their ceaseless destruction of plants, and only about a third of it is left. If it isn't mended soon it will disappear altogether. I have mentioned this to Tony Duckett.

The young heron in the Dell was fishing between the upper and lower waterfalls.

The pair of Little Grebes appeared under the dead willow near the Italian Garden. They are now in their breeding plumage. Thanks to Ahmet Amerikali for this fine picture.

The wind had whipped up some choppy little waves on the Serpentine, but a Great Crested Grebe rested undisturbed as it was bounced up and down.

The territorial dispute at the island is still going on, and one grebe was guarding the territory.

Tom was at Dungeness, and found a Goldeneye drake. You don't think of them as larger than Great Crested Grebes till you see the two together.

There used to be a small population of Goldeneye on the Long Water, strange because there has never been a captive bird collection here. But in the six years I have been doing this blog I have only seen two.

The Red-Crested Pochard drake dozed peacefully ...

... beside his Mallard mate and another Mallard drake who has now attached himself to the pair. The pair of Gadwalls were busy in the foreground. A Tufted drake surfaced in the middle.

Another good picture from Ahmet Amerikali, a Great Spotted Woodpecker in the leaf yard.

The Little Owl at the Queen's Temple was out in the morning, but retreated as the weather steadily turned nasty, eventually to hail and thunder.

A pair of Starlings in the leaf yard shone in the weak winter sunlight as they nattered to each other.

You can tell the difference between male and female starlings by looking at the base of the bill. In males it has a slightly blue tinge. In females, as here, it's slightly pink.

A Chaffinch under one of the feeders in the Rose Garden sheltered beneath the gate to avoid being knocked over by the Feral Pigeons that were swarming about.

This is the other feeder in the Rose Garden. You usually only see a few Blue Tits in the park, considerably outnumbered by Great Tits. And then a flock comes along and you realise that there are really quite a lot. A Coal Tit also appears at the end of this clip.


  1. Prepare yourselves, I am about to fangirl. The imposing Great Black-Back. It dwarfs everything. Yellow-Legged Gulls are almost half its size and weaklings in comparison. It is not only large and corpulent, but viciously strong, and with a Gull's unerring instinct to kill. The apex predator once it reaches adulthood. Yep, I like Great Black-Backs too much.

    1. Everything about it says Don't mess with me. By the way, I looked up its plastic ring, orange M6AT, which was not simple since this series is distinguished by its last letter rather than the first as usual. Sadly, it isn't from a farway romantic place in northern Europe. It was ringed by the North Thames Gull Group, which usually means that it was netted on the Pitsea rubbish dump in Essex. I would not want to have to handle this ferocious creature, which could remove a finger with a single snap.

  2. It certainly is a brute of a bird!

    Lovely photo of the 2 Little Grebes together. I would say they are transitioning into breeding plumage; certainly not fully there yet. Always love to hear them trilling away! Maybe one day they'll breed there?

    1. Little Grebes did breed on the Long Water once, several years ago. The chicks got eaten by gulls in a couple of days. Not enough cover here.