Saturday 7 December 2019

Grey Herons are returning to their nests on the island. One laid twigs on the nest ...

... while its mate looked up from the gate.

Another nest was also occupied.

Herons start nesting very early, and the heronry in Battersea Park usually produces young in January. It's too early to tell how serious the herons here about nesting.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull had eaten his fill of his latest victim. When Carrion Crows came in to finish off the leftovers, he gave them a token nudge to show who was boss, then left them to it.

There used to be a pair of Lesser Black-Backed Gulls permanently at the Lido, but only one of them has been here recently. It was lolling on the rubber mat on the jetty.

This Black-Headed Gull with ring number EZ73301 was ringed in 2013 by Bill Haines, who runs a project to trace the movements of Coots and Moorhens on the lake, but also rings other birds. It hasn't been seen outside London yet.

Three Coots had a brisk fight.

A Moorhen probed floating leaves to find small aquatic creatures.

A Tufted drake preened, turning over to do his shining white belly.

A pair of Egyptian Geese drank on the small waterfall in the Dell.

The Mistle Thrushes in the Dell are often heard but hard to see. One came out on the lawn.

A Wren perched on a twig above it.

A Long-Tailed Tit landed on a winter-flowering cherry near the bridge.

There are 21 life-size bronze African elephants at Marble Arch, a mother ...

... with a lot of young calves. The group is called 'The Orphans', and they are individual portraits of real elephants that have been rescued by the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and brought up at their nursery.


  1. I would like to watch Bill Haines catching them to ring them. Imagine most would not be keen. Do you know what the project is for?
    Thanks for the elephants; mean to have a look at them.

    1. The Coot and Moorhen project is simply to find how far they travel. Coots have already been found 100 miles from where they were ringed.

  2. I really love the elephant sculptures. Not only are they pleasing, they are also thought-provoking, and ultimately uplifting.

    How pretty does the Long Tailed Tit look among the flowers!

    Glad to see the Coots are up to their old tricks. It would crush my world view were they to become a peaceful, law-abiding species.

  3. Wonder if there are also many arboreal invertebrates floating out of the fallen leaves, which also attract wagtails.

    Still enjoying your 'Lorax-alike' Long-tailed Tit from the other day.

    I foresee something in store for those excellent-looking elephants if the XR campers return in good time. No doubt a signpost or banner with the XR logo and a caption "And the elephant in the room is..?" or similar.

    Everyone see this recently tweeted image of London lights from the ISS? The Winter Wonderland looks scarily bright. Jim

    1. Thanks for the link. All London streetlights have now been replaced with ones that diffuse light only downwards, which makes the irresponsible blaze of the Wasteland look even brighter in comparison.

  4. Seeing your Herons back on the nest when I was up Richmond Park yesterday to do my monthly wildfowl count I noticed one of the Herons standing on the nest.

    Interesting to watch the behaviour of the Crows + the LBB Gull. I haven't seen my local pair of LBB recently-only Black-headed, Common & Herring Gulls in the local park. I know LBB are often migratory with birds going to southern Europe/North Africa.

    1. It would be odd if only one of a pair of LBBs migrated, but I suppose not impossible.