Wednesday 16 January 2019

The Grey Herons in the middle nest on the island were squawking excitedly and poking around in the bottom of the nest, strong evidence that there are eggs in the nest. The nest is probably too high to see a heron actually sitting on eggs here.

In one of the Italian Gardens fountains, the odd couple of a Red-Crested Pochard drake and a female Mallard seemed happy together. They are not even the same general kind of duck, since a Red-Crested Pochard is a diving duck (and dives during this video) and a Mallard is a dabbling duck. Two Mallard drakes in the same pond left the couple undisturbed.

There was also a pair of Gadwalls in another pond here ...

... and some Tufted Ducks in another, bringing the species count to four.

This pair of Great Crested Grebes was hanging around in the fallen poplar tree where they have built a nest every year since the tree fell into the lake.

Two Pochards in the background complete the number of species present on the lake. We haven't seen any Mandarins here for months, though I'm sure they are going strong on the Regent's Canal nearby and some may arrive at any time.

The Bar-Headed--Greylag hybrid goose was preening on the edge of the Serpentine.

This surprised me, because a couple of days ago I had seen it wandering around the lake calling, as if searching for another goose, and yesterday as I walked through St James's Park I saw what I am sure was the same goose there, still calling. And today it's returned.

Tom was also in St James's Park yesterday, and got this fine shot of a Little Grebe. Their numbers have fallen in St James's Park and I think there may only be two there now. We see them occasionally on the Long Water or the Round Pond, but it's impossible to know whether these small, surreptitious birds are permanent residents here.

Another good picture from yesterday by Tom, this time in Kensington Gardens: one of the Great Spotted Woodpeckers in the leaf yard. There is certainly one pair here and there may be two.

There was a Jackdaw in the Dell, the first one I've seen there. Since they returned to Kensington Gardens five years ago after more than forty years' absence, they have been slowly expanding their territory and have now reached the eastern end of Hyde Park.

Prêt à manger: a Carrion Crow investigates a snack box it has pulled out of a bin.

Both the Little Owl near the Albert Memorial and the one at the Queen's Temple were just visible lurking at the back of their holes. But the second one showed briefly when annoyed by a Rose-Ringed Parakeet squawking on a nearby branch.

There was one Peregrine on the barracks tower.

A Song Thrush sang in a tree in the Flower Walk ...

... and a bold Wren skittered around on the path.

The painted pigeons were back, and I got a shot of the gaudiest one, bringing a touch of colour to a grey day even if it is artificial.


  1. Dunno. Against my best intentions, I really like the painted pigeons. Doubtless I'd cough up the fee if it allowed me to coo over them.

    Regarding the odd duck couple, I should mention that I once had a pet mallard that was kept in the same enclosure as my pet rabbits. I will forbear giving too many details about what they sometimes were doing together.