Tuesday 8 January 2019

Usually Coot fights are brief skirmishes lasting a few seconds, but this one on the Serpentine went on for four minutes before one bird flew away. This clip is of just one minute of the action.

A pair of Great Crested Grebes were building a nest on the submerged twigs of the collapsed willow tree next to the bridge. They are unlikely to get as far as breeding at this time of year, and often make several nests before actually using one.

A grebe stood up to flap near the island.

Grebes' wings are undersized for the weight of the bird, and they can only stay in the air by flying very fast. Nevertheless, these wings have spread the species all across the Old World from Ireland to New Zealand. Some South American grebes have lost the power of flight, but the flightless Titicaca Grebe, Rollandia microptera, is now seriously endangered as it can't leave the lake which is its only habitat, and the Alaotra Grebe, Tachybaptus rufolavatus, is extinct.

The marble fountain in the Italian Garden, which had become blocked, is now working. A Black-Headed Gull stood on the edge of the basin, drenched in spray.

In the lake under the fountain there was a mixed collection of birds including a Red-Crested Pochard with its bouffant hairdo fluffed up to the max ...

... a pair of Shovellers taking advantage of the small creatures brought up by an air bubbler ...

... and a Cormorant in full breeding plumage.

Seven Cormorants fished together farther down the Long Water. Cooperative fishing is efficient because a fish scared away by one bird may come within reach of another.

A flock of Long-Tailed Tits flew through the trees bordering the lake.

A Blue Tit looked around warily before flying down to a feeder in the Dell. A small bird's survival depends on constant vigilance.

A Chaffinch basked on a sun-warmed stone in the Rose Garden while waiting for tits on the feeder above to spill seeds on the ground.

Pairs of Rose-Ringed Parakeets were inspecting possible nest holes. This one was in a tall plane tree near the Physical Energy statue.

This parakeet is unfortunately in full possession of a hole previously used by Starlings in one of the plane trees near the small boathouses.

But there are plenty of holes in the old trees in the park, and this pair at the leaf yard will find somewhere.

The fish that I photographed yesterday being eaten by a Lesser Black-Backed Gull is now reduced to a tattered bit of skin, but a Carrion Crow was still finding a few shreds on it.

A Black-Headed Gull examined a Twix wrapper to see if there were a few crumbs of chocolate left in it.

The Little Owl at the Queen's Temple was making the most of the sunshine.


  1. That is not a skirmish. That is a Coot's version of a war of extermination. Was there any reason why they were fighting so violently?

    The pair of Starlings look like they are commenting disparagingly on the squatter parakeet's occupying their home.

    1. There had been a minor squabble of four Coots, from which these two broke away and started fighting furiously. So the immediate cause may have been something that happened in the squabble.

    2. They do have a genius for evil, for sure.

    3. Although I am sure that no animal is capable of evil, my certainty wavers when I consider chimpanzees.

    4. They resemble humans too much, I'm afraid.