Wednesday 4 December 2019

The male Little Owl near the Henry Moore sculpture was enjoying the sunshine.

A Green Woodpecker called on Buck Hill ...

... and a Rose-Ringed Parakeet settled into its winter hole. All three species shelter from the cold in tree holes.

A Robin foraged in a flower bed in the Rose Garden. The ability of birds to find tiny edible creatures on the ground in winter never ceases to surprise.

A Blackbird rummaged among the fallen leaves in the Dell.

A rather shop-soiled white Feral Pigeon looked down from a branch beside the Serpentine.

A Grey Heron stood on the moored rowing boats.

A Tufted drake dived for food in the shallow water at Peter Pan.

A young Great Crested Grebe fished under the nearby fallen poplar.

The plain plumage of a female Shoveller is relieved by a patch of brilliant iridescent green on its secondaries.

I had to go to the nut shop in Bell Street to stock up with pine nuts for the small birds, and this meant walking up the side of the huge enclosure of the Winter Wasteland. The sinister giant had a Pied Wagtail on his shoulder, looking for insects in his matted hair.

A pair of Carrion Crows preened each other on the hoarding.

It's not a good idea to win too many giant stuffed prizes. You have to carry them home and decide what to do with them.

When I photographed the Dakota on the tower two years ago, it was grubby and old-looking and I thought it was real. But now it's been repainted, and the way the sunlight catches its shiny surface shows it to be a fibreglass replica.

Glad to say that the original is still taking people on pleasure trips, as far as I know.

Picture by M. Oertle, 2015 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Arriving at Bell Street, I looked back at the Metropole Hilton Hotel in the Edgware Road, and one of the Peregrines was in the usual place on the tower.


  1. Ralph, Is that one of the same pair of peregrines that are sometimes seen on the barracks?I know that they have a wide territory and wondered if two pairs would live so close to each other? Thanks.

  2. I think I once saw that Dakota, or one very much like it, wheeling over Wolfson College in Cambridge about five years ago. I wonder if the aircraft may have been the same.

    There is something very encouraging in the image of the Wagtail using that horrid human concoction as a means to find food. "If there is something, there is a bird ready to make the best of it" ought to be one of the physics laws.

    1. HB-ISC is, according to the web, still flying between Zurich and London, owned by a firm called JU-Air but still painted in its old Swissair colours. The firm is so called because it also operates several Junkers JU-52 trimotors for joyrides, a slightly perilous joy as one crashed last year killing the crew.