Tuesday 12 November 2019

The day started sunny, then got dark and wet. A small group of Long-Tailed Tits passed through the autumn leaves.

A Blue Tit in the shrubbery near the bridge came out to be fed.

An interesting picture taken here by Ahmet Amerikali -- a Dunnock fluffed up so much that it's barely recognisable.

Carrion Crows prize triangular sandwich boxes, because the sandwiches in them are usually overloaded with mayonnaise that oozes on to the inside of the box.

Another crow washes after a greasy meal.

A seasonal picture of a Jackdaw by Mark Williams.

Tom was at Rainham Marshes again, where the Barn Owl is being surprisingly cooperative about being photographed.

A young Herring Gull on the Serpentine played at catching leaves and a strand of algae. It's useful practice for a life of snatching things.

Another had a thorough wash, and flapped its wings several times to settle the feathers in place.

Two of the young Great Crested Grebes from the island fished together.

A small group of Shovellers fed on the little water creatures that they filter with their huge bills. There was a short fight between two drakes.

A Tufted drake on a chain looked down complacently at his mate.

Of the four reliefs of children in the Italian Garden, this is the strangest to modern eyes. The innocent little ones go out with a gun, and have already bagged a pheasant.

As I was coming home in the rain, a headlight heralded a procession on the bicycle path.

It was an ambassador coming back from presenting his credentials at Buckingham Palace, an operation involving two carriages, four horses, four people to drive them, three police two on horseback and one on a motorbike, and a getaway car. Apart from the ambassador and his wife in the carriages, there were several tough-looking characters who were probably bodyguards. A strange combination of traditional pomp and modern fear.


  1. Hello Ralph!
    I enjoy reading your blog everyday. Great content, and giving me some occasional chuckles, keep it up.
    I've been wanting to catch a glimpse of the long-tailed tits, and possibly a goldcrest, but to no avail so far. Where and how high should I be looking to find them? Do they chirp in a distinguishable way?
    Thank you in advance!

    1. Yes, they both have distinctive calls. Try looking them up on xeno-canto.org and listening to several recordings of each one to get your ears attuned.

      Long-Tailed Tits can be seen passing through clumps of trees, mostly quite near the top, almost anywhere in the park, almost every day year round.

      Goldcrests like dense evergreen trees, especially yews. Again, they are permanently here.

  2. That picture of the Long Tailed Tit is enough to drive all the blues out.

    Seeing the young Gull dive, it is amazing how many things Gulls are good at. They are not the best at any one thing, to be sure, but they are good enough at many things. Perhaps that is the reason of their success.

    From which country was the ambassador? Great Britain does pomp and circumstance like no other country.

    1. I don't know which country the ambassador was from. From his route he was clearly going to one of the embassies in the big pompous villas in Kensington Palace Gardens, which include Russia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Norway, France, Israel and Romania. From his very ordinary looks he could have been from any of them.

  3. πόλλ' οἶδ' ἀργυρός-λάρος, ἀλλ' ἐχῖνος ἓν μέγα, said Archilochos

    1. But, in the words of Donald Rumsfeld, what the hedgehog knows is an unknown known.