Thursday 24 January 2019

There had been a frost in the night and now it was drizzling. Black-Headed Gulls were reflected in the rain-wetted ice.

A Herring Gull bit pieces off the edge of a patch of thin ice on the Serpentine. They are known for stealing ice cream from people's hands, but I've never seen one eating natural ice before.

Three Chaffinches were picking up seeds under a tree near the Rose Garden. I think someone must have thrown down some birdseed for them.

Undaunted by the freezing drizzle, a Song Thrush sang in a treetop in the thicket at the back of the Lido.

Several Blackbirds in the Rose Garden are now coming out for their daily treat of sultanas.

The Blackbird on the east side of the Long Water is now getting quite bold about demanding his share.

The small birds were very hungry, and there was a storm of Great Tits and Blue Tits whenever I passed by one of their hangouts.

A Wren came out on the stonework of the old arches on the north edge of the Italian Garden, where the Westbourne river used to enter the Long Water.

The Little Owl near the Albert Memorial was at the front of her hole, a place where she stands when it's raining because the roof of her hole is split and leaks.

The owl near the Henry Moore sculpture, a very hardy bird, was out on the branch ignoring the chilly drizzle.

One of the Peregrines was on the barracks tower.

A pair of Mute Swans on the bank of the Long Water near the bridge mimicked each other's motions, and one started picking up twigs as if preparing to build a nest. I hope they don't -- it's an exposed and dangerous place.

A Mallard preened on the edge of the Dell waterfall.

The single dark Mallard drakes has found a mate at last, after several years.

But the two dark brothers that go around together are still unmated, and seem perfectly content in each other's company.

Two Cormorants fished together under a fountain in the Italian Garden.

Two pictures from outside the park: David Element found the Waxwing near Euston Station which has been exciting people for a couple of days ...

... and Tom has been to Hemsted Forest in Kent, where there are Crossbills, and got this picture of a female.


  1. I love the Song Thrush's song so much. It is almost enough to warm up what looks like a freezing day.

    The name Westbourne puts me in mind of the imaginary river Snowbourn in The Lord of the Rings. I imagine the component -bourn must mean river or something like that.

    I am so puzzled by the Herring Gull's eating ice. To quote Tolkien again (I cannot help myself), "You can learn all that there is to know about their ways in a month, and yet after a hundred years they can still surprise you at a pinch".

    Oh wow, for the chance to see a Waxwing right in the middle of London. I have never even seen one.

    1. Yes, 'bourn[e]' does mean a stream. I don't think it's known what this stream was called originally at this point. Its downstream section was called the Bourne, but upstream of here street names suggest that it was called the Brook. What dull names. To the northeast, a tributary was the Kilburn, which means 'stream stream' in Brythonic and Anglo-Saxon.

      Waxwings are seriously rare in Central London. I've seen just one flock in the park in my life. There was a flock in Ealing, some way out of the centre, a few years ago.