Tuesday 19 February 2019

Two male Egyptian Geese on the Round Pond wrestled while one of their mates shouted encouragement. This fight went on for ten minutes, and only ended because they moved on shore and a man officiously broke it up. The only result of that is that they will have to have another fight.

There were also two Great Crested Grebes. They never stay long here. There are plenty of fish but absolutely no cover, which makes them feel uncomfortable.

There have been no Mandarins on the Long Water for months, but eventually a pair has turned up.

They prefer the Regent's Canal, whose overgrown banks provide shelter and tree holes to nest in.

Most of the Pochards have now migrated away and I saw only half a dozen, including this female on the Long Water.

A male Moorhen chased a female. This is as close as these birds get to a courtship ritual.

I was trying to photograph the pair of Lesser Black-Backed Gulls at the Lido when one of them took off. The shape of the splash is peculiar, as if it had left the water backwards. But the wind was quite light.

The gaze of a Black-Headed Gull in full breeding plumage is uncanny.

A Grey Heron in the nest on the island looked down at one of the chicks.

There was one Peregrine on the barracks tower, dismantling a pigeon. You can see feathers drifting down.

One of the Jays that comes to take a peanut from my hand always calls before taking off.

A Carrion Crow cawed loudly to summon its mate.

A small flock of Redwings flew over near the Physical Energy statue, and one of them landed in a tree.

A Robin picked up spilt sunflower seeds under the feeder in the Rose Garden.

Just an ordinary Feral Pigeon enjoying a wash in the Serpentine.

Tom went to Crossness nature reserve to see a Penduline Tit, a rare visitor from the European mainland. He got a good picture of it in a swaying bed of reedmace.


  1. That look. It almost looks as if it wanted to say, I would smite you if I could, but I'm too small.

    The fight looks really violent. It must be something of a feat to be able to outdo swans in violence, I think. The passing swans look on almost flabbergasted.

    1. The point of the fight seems to be to hold the other bird's head under water so that it it is obliged to submit. This is a fairly harmless form of combat, furious as it looks. Grebes do much the same, though they grasp each other's beak rather than the neck.

    2. The resident male Egyptian Goose at Kenwood was recently drowned in such a contest. I would break these things up if they were going that way. Jim

    3. Impossible to separate them when they're on the water. In the event here, both birds flew off when separated, one chasing the other, and almost certainly renewed their fight out of sight.

  2. I always intervene whenever possible. I too have seen an Egyptian goose drown like this. The aerial combat can be a precursor to this as the aggressor tries to catch the assailants leg and drag it down to water.
    My beloved Egyptian goose that I followed for 8 years by the Round Pond, was severely wounded in a battle for his nest site, with his beak broken and throat damaged. He died 2 weeks later, after great struggle.

    1. So very sorry to read that. I cannot fathom how hard and painful it must have been to witness it.