Saturday 16 February 2019

As usual during the last few days, a Grey Heron on the island was looking down into its nest. In this picture there is something light coloured just visible through the twigs. Can it be a heron chick? Too early to be sure.

A young heron stood on the cornice of the bridge. Two women were looking at it, thinking it was an ornamental statue, and shrieked when it moved its head.

The great Crested Grebes from the east end of the island were dancing.

To the west of the island, a grebe called to his mate. This pair have arrived quite recently, and there have been some fights with the grebes at the west end of the island as they have tried to establish their territory.

This is the pair that built a nest against the netting surrounding the Diana fountain reed bed.  It has since fallen to pieces. So has the nest at the east end of the island, not for the first time. Well, it would be better if they all waited till the summer when there are plenty of small fish.

Two Cormorants were continuing to hoover up improbable quantities of fish from the old water filter under the parapet of the Italian Garden.

The Red-Crested Pochard drake in the Italian Garden fountain enjoyed a wash and a flap.

We don't usually have pictures of Canada Geese except when they have pretty goslings. Their commonness makes one forget that they are actually elegant creatures, especially when flying.

There was one Peregrine on the barracks tower.

Their habit of throwing the inedible bits of their prey off the ledge where they feed makes it quite easy to know what they're eating. This picture from Stuart Harrington of the London Peregrine Partnership shows that Rose-Ringed Parakeets are on the menu.

People dining on the restaurant terraces often don't eat crusts. This habit is welcomed by Starlings.

A Nuthatch in the leaf yard came down to be fed.

A Blue Tit with the same idea perched on a twig with budding leaves next to the bridge.

A Great Tit waited on the fence below.

A Robin searched for tiny creatures under a tree in the Rose Garden. When small birds forage on apparently bare ground, you can seldom see what they're picking up. If you look at the ground afterwards you can't see anything, but probably that's because the birds have efficiently cleared the area.

Three girls did their best to make up for the shortage of rabbits in the park.


  1. We all know that the colouring of a Robin's breast is very visible, but I never realized how effective it is as a beacon until I saw how much it stands up against the grey background in this video.

    1. Yet Robins are surprisingly cryptic against a background of brown dead leaves.

  2. Poor pathetic remains of parakeets. ( I know, everybody has to eat..)
    P.S. Them's not rabbits, it's the dreaded Common or Garden Hen (party members).

    1. Yes indeed, a female Gallus vulgaris, more dreaded than a hungry eagle. But give them credit for trying.

    2. not sure there is a male of this species

  3. Agree- I always find something elegant watching Canada Geese in flight.

    The photo of the parakeet bills is rather surreal but I guess it's no surprise they're regular prey given their abundance now. I've noticed when the parakeets are flying to roost they fly very low just skirting roof tops, fast + furious, which I've assumed is to reduce predation.

    1. When Jeff Martin and I were researching our article on Predation of Rose-Ringed Parakeets (British Birds vol 108 349-353, June 2015), we found that they were being taken by Peregrines, Sparrowhawks, a Hobby (to everyone's great surprise), Tawny Owls and Carrion Crows. However, this wide range of predators doesn't seem to be making much of a dent in the population.