Monday 21 October 2019

The Henry Moore sculpture was suddenly thronged with Rose-Ringed Parakeets, which have never paid it any attention before. It is made of travertine, which is full of small holes that their claws can grip. But it's hard to understand what they see in this lump of rock.

Some of them were more sensibly picking seeds off the teazels below.

When they feed on the ground it's usually on dandelion leaves, which they particularly like. One of them had found a bit of apple.

The big earthenware plant pots at the Lido restaurant have been newly planted with winter bedding plants. This always brings in a lot of insects and worms, and birds flock in to eat them. There are also some berries on one of the plants.

Carrion Crows had the same idea at the Dell restaurant.

Robins are singing loudly all over the park.

The female Call Duck whose mate was kidnapped now seems to be resigned to her loss, and is following a Mallard drake around.

Normally when a Moorhen walks up the chain to a post with a Black-Headed Gull on it, the gull flies away at once. This one stood its ground longer than usual.

Some Coots were enjoying a brawl at the Vista.

A Coot standing under one of the fountains in the Italian Garden was about to be deluged with a large dollop of water. They seem to enjoy a heavy shower -- if not, they wouldn't stand there.

By day the hire boats at Bluebird Boats are populated by various kinds of gull, which make a fair mess of them, and the occasional Grey Heron which makes a worse one.

But recently Egyptian Geese have taken to roosting on them at night, and the mess they make is gigantic. In the morning boat after boat is towed in looking like a farmyard and having to be cleaned with a high pressure hose. Mateusz is wondering what to do to discourage them, and speculating about lasers and automatically piloted drones, and other advanced and fantastic solutions. I was wondering whether engaging a falconer to bring in a Harris Hawk in the evening and early morning might unsettle them. If anyone has any better ideas, I'll pass them on to Mateusz.

The patch of wood chips under the plane trees north of the Albert Memorial, where I photographed some mushrooms that turned out to be Sulphur Tuft, now has two more species on it. Mario tells me that this one is probably Haresfoot Inkcap, Coprinopsis lagopus ...

... and this is Russet Toughshank, Gymnopus dryophilus.


  1. Your photo reminded me of pictures of wild parrots on mineral licks, but surely there can’t be anything for them on a Henry Moore sculpture?

    1. Interesting. Do you think they might have been getting calcium carbonate from the weathering rock?

  2. I was going to suggest the same as Ian.

    A falconer sounds about right, but I think it'd need a larger or more aggressive predator than a Harris Hawk. If an Eagle Owl could be found, I think it'd be optimal. If it is any help, falconers in the airport of Madrid-Barajas fly Peregrines and Gyrfalcons to clear up the airspace, very successfully.

    Some town councils in Spain use recordings of birds of preys' calls to discourage starlings and doves from roosting, but from what I have read they soon learn that there is nothing to fear from empty voices.

  3. Thank you. It would be wonderful to have an Eagle Owl flying in the park. There was a falconry which used to visit Brompton Cemetery nearby on its annual open day, and they had an Eagle Owl who, however, suffered from arthritis and retired from active work. They have a young Bengal Eagle Owl coming up, slightly smaller than the Eurasian variety.

    Bluebird Boats did try recorded distress calls on the Herring Gulls, with the same short-lived results.

  4. Fascinating to see the Ring-necked Parakeets feeding on Teasels. Despite the bird + the plant both being common, I've never seen this behaviour before.