Thursday 31 January 2019

Two Mute Swans made their way through the thin ice on the Long Water to get to the edge, where someone was feeding the birds.

The freezing conditions have made all the Great Crested Grebes fly away to the Thames, except for these two which were poking around a possible nest site under the collapsed willow tree near the bridge. There is still enough clear water for their long takeoff run, so they can fly out tonight if they want to.

Little Grebes are less worried about being iced in, since they can take off from a run of only 3 feet. The pair were under the same tree, calling to each other.

Three Cormorants have remained on the lake, and were fishing under the bridge.

The Grey Herons on the lowest nest were looking into their nest as if they were still interested. Last year a late cold spell forced this pair to abandon their eggs.

The morning sunshine brought out Little Owls in all three of the usual trees: the horse chestnut near the Queen's Temple ...

... the oak near the Albert Memorial ...

... and the lime on the hill above the Henry Moore sculpture.

Tom got this spectacular picture of a Short-Eared Owl at Harefield, near Harrow.

When birds bank steeply they keep their head horizontal, unlike human pilots.

One of the Peregrines, I think the male, was preening in its usual place on the barracks tower.

A Rose-Ringed Parakeet was hanging around the big hole in one of the two plane trees near the boathouses. This is bad news for the Starlings which usually nest there.

A small flock of Redwings twittered gently in a tree on the Parade Ground.

A Pied Wagtail sprinted around the newly turned earth where the area is being returfed. This is a male, with a black back.

Another rummaged in the debris washed up on the shore of the Serpentine. This is a female, with a grey back.

A Long-Tailed Tit was poking round on the ground in the woodland on the east side of the Long Water.

You don't generally see these birds on the ground unless they are collecting feathers for their nests. But there are peanut shells in the foreground where someone has been feeding the squirrels, and the tit may have been looking for leftover bits of nut.


  1. This is the first time I have seen a Long-Tailed Tit foraging on the ground. Was it alone? Strange to see these family birds on their own.

    I love watching icebreaking Swans. So much strength and power coupled with such grace of movement (yeah, fangirling again).

    The Little Owl in the chestnut tree is looking plenty blissful.

    1. It was a small group of Long-Tailed Tits. A couple of them were flying down from low branches to the ground. There must have been something edible there. I looked carefully but couldn't see what it was.