Sunday 24 November 2019

There were small flocks of Goldfinches in the treetops both beside the Long Water and in the Rose Garden. They have been scarce lately, and it's good to see some.

A female Chaffinch perched on a bush in the Rose Garden.

But the Chaffinch family near the bridge have moved away, and I haven't found where they went.

A Blackbird examined a pile of dead leaves in the Dell, a valuable hunting ground for many insect-eating birds. If only the gardeners would stop blowing leaves out of the shrubberies we would have many more birds.

A flock of Long-Tailed Tits moved along the edge of the Serpentine towards the bridge.

A Robin perched in front of the red dogwood bushes at the east end of the Lido.

The weekend crowds at the Winter Wasteland have brought more business to the temporary snack bar at the Lido, and with it Pied Wagtails hunting insects attracted to the spilt food. Two waited on the roof.

Two Carrion Crows enjoyed a vigorous wash in the Serpentine.

A Grey Heron stood in an old nest on the island. They often nest very early in the New Year, but will now have to wait till work on the island is finished.

Most of the Herring Gulls on the Serpentine are in their first two years of life, with the mottled tweedy feathers of young birds. This shows how fast the population is expanding from the very successful breeding site in Paddington.

The god of the Westbourne river is represented on the central keystone of the loggia in the Italian Garden, while his nymphs pour water into the lake. Actually the river has been diverted around the north side of the park in a pipe because it was foul, and the water now comes from a borehole. No wonder the god looks so depressed.

A Jackdaw perched disrespectfully on the head of one of the nymphs.

The Black Swan is still on the Round Pond.

Another fine picture by Tom of one of the Barn Owls at Rainham Marshes.

The electric fence is to keep the cows on the grazing fields in the middle of the marsh.


  1. So much pleasure from your blog. Thank you, Ralph.
    I see a great number of small flocks of goldfinch on the ariels around my falt in Kensington High Street and also around the Ken High St/Chuch Street area. Wonder why they are so common outside the park and rarer to be seen inside?

  2. Thank you. Goldfinches do seem to be commoner in the street than in the park, something I can't explain as there are plenty of alder trees, teazels and other things for them in the park.

  3. Always a cheery sight to see Goldfinches in winter.

    I had to laugh at the Jackdaw's impudent look. Cheeky bird.

    These are bad times for poetry, it seems. Poor river god.

    1. The Westbourne river is clean again now, but reduced to a tiny trickle because its catchment area has been built over and rainwater goes into the urban drains. You can see it through the slots in a vent cover a short distance northwest of the Italian Garden.

  4. I've noticed in recent years that Goldfinches are very partial to the seeds of London Planes so small flocks can sometimes be heard above the sound of traffic in busy high roads. I've also noted them feeding on Liquidambers which seem to be coming more popular as street trees + have great autumn colour.

    Down my quiet road we have some Italian alders which are not surprisingly popular with them, with up to 40 birds at times in them.

    I really don't understand why leaves are blown from the shrubberies? I'm sure it's not the gardeners to blame but their bosses who will have instructed them to do it. It should be left to mulch down, which will improve the soil with added organic matter as well as providing food for invertebrates, fungi, etc. There was a German study announced last week which said how fatal these blowers are to insect leaf as well as possible problems for human health.Time for park managers to become enlightened!

    1. I've been nagging park managers for years about leaf blowing, without the slightrst result.

  5. I was told that the electric fence at Rainham was also to keep foxes out of (in particular) the lapwing breeding areas. One of the staff there said to me that "foxes regard lapwing chicks as we do digestive biscuits; you can always just have another one".

    1. I wonder whether it works or the foxes just dig underneath

    2. Ugh. Now I'm not going to be able to look at digestive biscuits quite the same way again!