Thursday, 2 May 2019

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull didn't need his hunting skills today. He just walked into a crowd of Feral Pigeons, grabbed one, and carried it into the lake to kill and eat it.

 Later I saw the remains being finished off by a Carrion Crow.

Mandarin drakes are usually quite aggressive, so it was a surprise to see this one chased off by a fluffy little Egyptian gosling.

There have been no losses for several days now.

The renovated area around the statue of Peter Pan opened to the public today, but the Mallard was too comfortable in the wildflowers to leave.

There were two Holly Blue butterflies here too.

The Great Crested Grebes nesting under the willow tree near the bridge now have one egg.

The chick on the Long Water was back under the fallen poplar at the Vista. It's growing fast.

A Moorhen got ruffled when it turned downwind.

One of the young Grey Herons flew out of the nest.

There are now four singing Reed Warblers: three in the reed bed by the Diana fountain, of which this is one, and another in the reeds east of the Lido.

The Sedge Warbler has moved on to the Long Water and was singing in the reeds around the fallen horse chestnut tree. It's impossible to get a photograph here.

A pair of Long-Tailed Tits paused in a dead tree near the Italian Garden.

A Magpie posed elegantly on the trunk of an oak tree in the leaf yard.

A Buff-Tailed Bumblebee worked through the flowers in an ornamental planter at the Lido. You can see that this is a female by the pollen bags on her legs.


  1. I was inspected today by a white-tailed bumblebee that was minding its business buzzing happily in and out a french lavender shrub. I knew it to be harmless, but a few of my colleagues ran for the hills, the cowards. I didn't put out my hand for it to land on top out of consideration for my colleagues' delicate nerves. They would have got the vapours.

    Did the pigeons have a dead wish today, or was it Pigeon Killer's lucky day today?

    I wish each and every child on earth was looked at with as much devotion, care, and concern as that grebe parent looks at its chick. Grebes are the best proof that birds are capable of love.

    1. Strange that bumblebees should inspire terror. They are like tiny flying teddy bears.

      I was surprised by the nonchalant behaviour of the pigeons. Usually they keep their distance. Maybe the gull has killed so many in his return to his old territory that the present inhabitants are naive.

  2. Generally speaking, London pigeons appear so overconfident/blase about danger, it seems a wonder they thrive (even allowing for surplus fecundity). Not just regards large predatory gulls, but also traffic, for instance. (and only the odd one gets run over). Tough old birds.

    1. Surplus fecundity must be the key. This gull alone kills a number close to the total pigeon population of the park every year, and is helped by Sparrowhawks and Peregrines, but the population doesn't decrease.

    2. I wonder also if the gull was able to spot a sickly individual. Such birds might still struggle frantically, but it may then be too late. Jim

    3. Very likely. But the whole crowd of pigeons were behaving very nonchalantly. Usually there's a much wider empty space around the gull.

  3. Love the bumblebee video amongst the French Lavender.

    I wonder Ralph whether it's worth considering writing a short article about the pigeon killing LBB for British Birds magazine. Though large gulls are well known for their predatory behaviour this individual does seem to exhibit quite specialist behaviour which would be well illustrated with these photos. I believe the wider ornithological community would be fascinated by this. Great if rather grisly documentation.

    1. Maybe. I'll write to Roger about this. I can show him the YouTube video as an example of what the gull does.