Tuesday 29 January 2019

Yesterday Neil heard what seemed to be a House Sparrow in a holly tree on the west side of the Long Water between the bridge and the Vista. He couldn't see it in the tree, so he made a sound recording. You can hear it chirping several times against the background of a Robin singing. If this really is a sparrow, it's only the second one to be found in the park since 2000. The first one showed briefly near Kensington Palace.

This is Neil's photograph of the tree. It's just to the south of the broken horse chestnut.

The Long Water had partly frozen in the night. Black-Headed Gulls were standing around on the melting ice, as they like to do.

A Herring Gull was a bit unsteady, but it enjoyed picking up a bit of ice and dropping it to make it smash.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull had already had his breakfast and flown away, leaving a few scraps on the carcass for another to pick off.

English Lesser Black-Backed Gulls are considerably paler than Continental ones, but this one is so light coloured that it might be a Herring Gull hybrid.

Fish was also on the menu, though it was none too fresh.

A Moorhen also had a go.

The Red-Crested Pochard and his Mallard mate had left the Italian Garden and were cruising around on the lake below.

A few Redwings have now arrived on the Parade Ground, as they do every year after the Winter Wasteland has gone and the area is fenced off for returfing. There will be more in a few days.

Carrion Crows and Black-Headed Gulls looked for insects and worms in the freshly turned earth, completely unworried by the huge tractors charging around.

A little flock of Starlings foraged in a patch of surviving rough grass.

A Carrion Crow dunked a larva in a puddle to make it more palatable.

The Little Owl near the Henry Moore sculpture was out at the front of her hole.

Both Peregrines were on the barracks tower.

A few Long-Tailed Tits clustered around the feeder in the Dell.

Underneath, a Robin perched in a small sapling that is going to be a mighty cedar when it grows up.

Tom went to Alexandra Palace and found a female Black Redstart on the stonework.


  1. Yep, that's a House Sparrow, or a bird that imitates it so closely as to fool anyone. That's really exciting! I hope it will make itself visible tomorrow.

    It'd be poetical if that Robin should build its nest in the adult cedar after it's grown up.

    1. How many generations of Robins before the cedar is full grown? Some cedars of Lebanon are reckoned to be over 1000 years old.

  2. Drat. I didn't think my poetic image through. A descendant of that Robin, then.

    1. Perhaps there is only one World Robin and the birds we see are simply manifestations of it. If so, I wish it would get used to me and not fly away when I try to record its wonderful song.

  3. I also think that's a sparrow. Hope springs. Alas, one sparrow does not make a tribe of them.