Sunday 6 January 2019

The heronry on the island is getting more and more active. The people at Bluebird Boats kindly took me on a trip round the island, enabling views you can't get from the shore. It looks as if the middle nest now has eggs in it, since one of the Grey Heron pair was poking around in the bottom of the nest.

This nest on the south side of the island is more or less invisible from the shore. Its occupants were displaying vigorously.

One more heron picture: one of last year's young birds was in the top of the Little Owls' tree near the Queen's Temple.

The owl didn't mind. They have a common enemy in Carrion Crows and, as the proverb says, My enemy's enemy is my friend.

Crows like to dunk their food in water. Even this tiny larva got dipped in the marble fountain in the Italian Garden.

A Pied Wagtail found an even smaller one beside the Serpentine.

One of the Dunnocks at the Lido was also hunting along the edge.

A Robin posed on a twig beside the Long Water.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull made a grab at a pigeon which got away, leaving just a feather in his beak.

This pair of Great Crested Grebes were examing a nest site on the Long Water, under the overhanging oak tree near the bridge. A pair -- probably the same pair -- nested in this exact spot last year.

A pair of Egyptian Geese washed in the Dell, encouraging a Moorhen to do the same.

Egyptian Geese like to display, together or singly, on the sawn-off tops of dead trees, which provide a convenient platform. The female honks, and the male makes a hoarse panting sound.

There was just one Shoveller on the Round Pond. He was being shadowed by a Black-Headed Gull which apparently -- and wrongly -- believed that he would dredge up something large enough to grab.

For some reason the shelter at the foot of Buck Hill is the scene of all kinds of martial arts, dances and sporting activities. Today it was casting practice, which of course had to carried on next to the shelter rather than in it.

At last the Winter Wasteland is finished, leaving a sea of mud and thousands of giant stuffed dogs.


  1. The casting practitioner looks somewhat joyless. The herons' activities are concerning, aren't they? If we get a proper cold snap, wouldn't that endanger the rather-too-early chicks?

    1. Most of the activities in and around the Buck Hill shelter have an air of grim determination, whether it's mindfulness or the cha-cha.

      Yes, the herons are much too early, even by the standards of herons, and the whole enterprise may come to nothing.

    2. I was going to comment on the herons' timing. Let us cross our fingers, although my hopes aren't very high.

      Isn't that sort of casting practice dangerous to bystanders?

    3. It would be sensible not to have a hook on the fishing line when practising. At the very least a real hook would likely get caught on her large woolly hat. My father once hooked himself in the ear.