Wednesday 20 February 2019

A Wood Pigeon ate blossom beside the Serpentine. They are fond of this, as the flowers contain sweet nectar.

A Rose-Ringed Parakeet in the Rose Garden had the same idea.

In the next tree, an evergreen oak, a Goldcrest was flitting around overhead. I was very lucky to get a picture of the elusive little bird.

A Redwing hunted for worms in a patch of rough grass on the Parade Ground. Most of this area has now been returfed, and there isn't much to eat in the immaculate newly grown grass.

Most of the Redwings were farther south, in trees on the other side of Rotten Row.

A Starling chattered in a tree beside the Serpentine as the twigs swayed in the brisk wind.

Here is another of those gulls which are darker than Herring Gulls and lighter than Lesser Black-Backs. This one also has feet intermediate in colour between the yellow of a Lesser Black-Back and the greyish pink of a Herring Gull. It may well be a hybrid of the two.

One of the Lesser Black-Backs at the Lido chased off a young Herring Gull that had intruded on its territory.

Three Cormorants were hoovering up fish in the apparently inexhaustible area at the north end of the Long Water. Since this is a fish spawning ground, they must be having a severe effect on the future population.

A Moorhen beside the Serpentine tried to preen its feathers, but the wind made this difficult.

There is almost always at least one Great Crested Grebe loitering under the collapsed willow by the bridge, reserving a place to make a nest later.

Two Bar-Headed--Greylag Goose hybrids from St James's Park found each other on the edge of the Serpentine.

This Pochard drake has been hanging around next to the bridge for several weeks. It doesn't associate with the other Pochards, of which there are still a few left on the Long Water.

Just one of those Wordsworth moments.


  1. It’s good to see the two Bar-headed hybrid geese together. I always enjoy watching them in St James’s.

    1. It took them some time to find each other here, as one had flown to the Serpentine and the other to the Round Pond.

  2. I love the picture of the Goldcrest so much. The birdie (or birb, in the modern parlance) has such a little sweet face.

    "Fluttering and dancing in the breeze", indeed. No one can beat British poets when it comes to describing and feeling nature.

    1. I never thought I'd got a usable shot of the Goldcrest till I got home, and then by pure chance one was OK.

  3. Agreed a fantastic Goldcrest shot.

    Ever see any suspect Caspian Gulls? Did Des McKenzie ever see one here? Jim

    1. No one's ever seen a Caspian Gull in the park. They're rare enough outside London.

  4. Prose writers, too:

    Thursday 15th. It was a threatening misty morning—but mild. We set off after dinner from Eusemere. [...] When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow park we saw a few daffodils close to the water side. We fancied that the lake had floated the seeds ashore and that the little colony had so sprung up. But as we went along there were more and yet more and at last under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road. I never saw daffodils so beautiful they grew among the mossy stones about and about them, some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness and the rest tossed and reeled and danced and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the lake, they looked so gay ever glancing ever changing. This wind blew directly over the lake to them. There was here and there a little knot and a few stragglers a few yards higher up but they were so few as not to disturb the simplicity and unity and life of that one busy highway.

    (Dorothy Wordsworth's journal entry, 15 April 1802)

    PS: there's a story that WW originally wrote "lonely as a cow" and that DW persuaded him to amend it...

    1. Thank you. I find that description more evocative than William's plonking poem, but I am allergic to Wordsworth.

      I hope the original cow wasn't floating on high o'er vales and hills.

      When I was a book editor many years ago, I edited a book described as a 'celebration' (aargh) of Wordsworth. The author, whose name I have forgotten, said that whenever Wordsworth used an apparently inappropriate word, it was a sign that he was about to ascend to some kind of higher state and write something visionary and wonderful. I don't think so.

      The beetle loves his unpretending track,
      The snail the house he carries on his back;
      The far-fetched worm with pleasure would disown
      The bed we gave him, though of softest down.

      Wordsworth fatally invites parody, and I have desecrated several of his poems.

      The beetle longs to roam the ocean waves,
      The snail a grand hotel perversely craves;
      One far-fetched thought pervades the worm's small head:
      To lie in comfort on a feather bed.