Tuesday 19 November 2019

In the fountain pools of the Italian Garden ...

... two Cormorants explored the water. Previous visiting Cormorants have eaten almost all the fish except for some carp too big to swallow, so they left soon.

A Carrion Crow perched on a stone swan's head forming the handle of an ornamental urn. Over the years almost all the swans' heads had been broken off, and were replaced when the gardens were renovated a few years ago.

The little group of Gadwalls seems to be a permanent fixture in the pools, feeding at the edge of the spray from the fountains.

A Black-Headed Gull showed no respect for Edward Jenner, the inventor of smallpox vaccination.

But the statue, by William Calder Marshall, has seen worse. It was originally in Trafalgar Square, where it was regularly defaced by anti-vaccination campaigners, and had to be moved to a more secluded place in the newly built Italian Garden.

Another Black-Headed Gull with ring number EX63684 was in the park in 2015, and this is the first time I've seen it since then.

A Great Crested Grebe looked for small fish hiding in the dead leaves at the bottom of the Serpentine.

A Dunnock searched for insects in a planter. The effect was slightly like a Douanier Rousseau picture of a tiger in the jungle.

A Pied Wagtail on the terrace of the Dell restaurant hunted for insects in the joints of the paving.

Another ran up the shore.

Two Crows teased a Grey Heron in the little stream in the Dell.

The male Little Owl near the Henry Moore statue was out on the branch to the right of the pair's hole.

The three dark Mallard drakes are surprisingly shiny when the sun catches them at the right angle ...

... but no bird in the park is as magnificently iridescent as the Starlings.


  1. A slight Rousseau effect, yes. I like your visual association : The Feral Dunnock.

    1. Mother beetles frighten their children with tales of the terrible striped predator.

    2. But of course:


      (incidentally, the Bird was originally supposed to be a female Chaffinch, but the designers changed their minds).

  2. Always enjoyable to watch Grebes go about their fishing from above.

    That Mallard is spectacularly shiny, considering its drab appearance. Goes on to show, nothing can be taken for granted.

    Always a treat to see pictures of Pied Wagtails. We get so few of them, it is always a noteworthy event when we catch a glimpse of one.

    I can't believe the statue of Edward Jenner had to be moved. Are people going mad?

    1. The anti-vaccination crazies were Victorian ones. But it could have happened today if someone had put up a statue to the inventor of the MMR vaccine.