Friday 16 August 2019

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was eating his latest kill in the water, but found pecking at the floating corpse laborious and brought it ashore.

He was promptly surrounded by Carrion Crows wanting a bit of his meal. One young crow was quite pushy and actually managed to grab a couple of scraps.

A crow near the Rose Garden ate a dead leaf, which you wouldn't have thought was either tasty or nutritious.

There was a Peregrine on the barracks tower. From its habit of sitting facing inwards, I reckon this to be the male of the pair, and that we haven't seen the female here for a while.

A young Great Tit looked for insects under the bench in the shrubbery at the northwest corner of the bridge.

A Dunnock was doing the same in the bushes.

The two older Great Crested Grebe chicks are teenagers now, and were fishing together, or at least trying to fish, at the Vista. We know that there are lots of fish here, from the great ease with which their parents can catch them. But it's a skill that takes some time to learn and I didn't see them getting anything.

The Coots nesting under the balcony of the Dell restaurant have finally stopped using their nest. The Mallard with three ducklings saw her chance, and parked her brood on it.

A Moorhen and a chick wandered unobtrusively through the reeds near the Italian Garden.

It's hard to tell how many Moorhens there are in the park, but I don't think more than twenty. There are more than ten times as many Coots. And yet Coots never bred in the central London parks until 1926, when a pair introduced into St James's Park managed for the first time. With hindsight, bringing them in was a bad idea. Most introductions seem either to fail or to succeed far too well, as with Canada Geese.

However, Mandarins, another introduced species, have kept their numbers in check. We only get occasional visitors from their home on the Regent's Canal. There were two pairs on the Long Water today.

The Tufted Duck was there, with only four ducklings, and it looked as if they had lost one more.

But later I saw the fifth duckling alive and well on the edge near the Vista. Probably it's just one particular duckling that keeps wandering off, a dangerous habit.

The single Tufted duckling on the Serpentine kept safely close to its mother. Every passing day makes it more likely that it will survive -- but soon it will be indistinguishable from an adult female and we'll never know whether it came through.

The hopeless pair of Egyptians were on the old water filter under the marble fountain. The female, in front here, has moulted her wing feathers and can't fly, so they won't be seen in their usual place in the Italian Garden for some time.

They are now at least 17 years old. Apparently Egyptian Geese in zoos can reach 35.


  1. I have always wondered why the Peregrin should sit facing the wall. It looks like a naughty student that has been punished.

    17 years are far too many not to have learned how to keep your chicks in good condition by now.

  2. It seems that these Egyptians are incapable of learning from experience. They are not very intelligent birds, far less so than proper geese.