Wednesday 13 November 2019

Common Gulls are not all that common, and we don't see them in the park during their breeding season. I'd never seen a pair displaying before. It's very much like the display of their larger relative the Herring Gull.

An odd couple of a Herring Gull and a Lesser Black-Backed Gull. There was a youngster hanging around the pair, begging. Could it be theirs?

This Black-Headed Gull with ring number EL88460 was ringed by Roy Sanderson in the park about 15 years ago.

Most gulls are ringed at their breeding grounds, not in their winter place. I met Alan Gibson, who studies the movements of ringed gulls, and asked him if any of Roy's gulls had ever been recorded later at breeding grounds abroad, He thought not, but he had once recorded another English-ringed gull that turned up at Kiel in Germany.

The Lido restaurant is closed for renovation, but there is a temporary snack bar and people are using the outside tables. The local Grey Heron stood on the roof waiting for the lunchtime customers to arrive.

A Goldcrest dashed around in a tree beside the Long Water.

There was also a Wren.

This Robin in the yew tree in the leaf yard is a regular customer when I feed the small birds.

Two Starlings bathed frantically in the Serpentine.

A female Common Pochard preened ...

while a drake looked smart with his ginger head and red eye.

A Gadwall drake was a model of sober elegance.

A Tufted drake dived and swam under water.

The Black Swan was still on the Round Pond. When it arrived, it seemed likely to have come from St James's Park. But it doesn't behave like a park bird, taking no notice of offers of food. There is a small population of feral Black Swans in England, and it might be a genuinely wild bird.


  1. I could spend hours watching gulls. If you pay any attention to them, they are always doing something, odd, thought-provoking, or downright silly, but always interesting.

    The study of gull hybrids is a truly esoteric science, but those two appear to be conducting a fruitful interspecies romance.

    Lovely that the Black Swan should be a wild bird! That's exciting, such a good opportunity to see how their behaviour when left to their own devices.

    1. Agree about the endless fascination of gulls, and they are easier to watch than crows.

      I'm not at all sure about the origin of the Black Swan. Being alone, it doesn't have much opportunity to display behaviour.

  2. It's interesting that you mentioned the displaying Common Gulls as on Monday we had a walk around our local park + a pair were calling a lot + were doing a pair-bonding display- walking side by side with wings slightly held back from the body with head lowered. They would then pause + raise heads calling + this continued for a while. It was the first time I recall seeing this in London.

    Your Pochard seems aberrant- the breast isn't black as it should be + apart from the head which looks normal the rest of the plumage looks washed-out. Maybe a form of leucism?

    1. The Pochard drake's head is also brighter than normal. I discovered that a lack of eumelanin and normal level of phaeomelanin goes under the boringly obvious name 'Brown'.