Sunday 8 December 2019

The pair of Great Crested Grebes from the east end of the island are still on the Serpentine, though most of the others have flown out. They were defending their territory against another grebe that had crossed the imaginary line.

A Cormorant stretched and flapped to make sure its wings were in order before taking off from the Long Water.

A fine picture by Ahmet Amerikali of a Cormorant with a perch.

The Black Swan saw someone feeding the waterfowl beside the Round Pond and hurried over to squeeze into the crowd.  It's only taken a few weeks for what I think is a feral bird to adjust to park life.

A Shoveller looked splendid in the morning sunshine.

Later a chilly wind got up, and a Grey Heron hunched into a streamlined attitude as it stood on the roof of one of the boathouses.

A pair of Egyptians sheltered between the legs of the Henry Moore sculpture.

Another pair displayed in the horse ride beside the Serpentine. The one on the left has a slight case of angel wing, but can fly and has survived. More severely affected birds that can't fly don't last long, as they are killed by foxes or dogs.

This Blackbird beside the Long Water used to come out regularly to be given sultanas, but I hadn't seen him for months. Then today he was back, calling from a branch, and of course he got his reward.

The Winter Wasteland attracts all kinds of scavengers, and is mostly responsible for the number of Carrion Crows that have moved permanently from the northwest corner of Kensington Gardens to the east end of Hyde Park. A couple of dozen of them flew into the Dell and started rootling in the dead leaves.

A few days ago I published a picture of a Common Gull, of which this is a detail, and wrote that it probably couldn't see well straight ahead. I've noticed this in Common Gulls several times.

But this Common Gull has more frontally set eyes.

Black-Headed Gulls always seem to have eyes that can see straight forward ...

... and so do the larger gulls.

This is a young Lesser Black-Backed Gull which I think is the offspring of the pigeon eater and his mate.


  1. Offspring - Lesser Black-Backed?

    1. Oops, sorry. I keep mixing up the two names with Black in them. Corrected.

  2. I think eyes on front means predator usually, eyes on the sides mean prey usually. Most gulls are predators, each according to their measure (and measurements).

    I don't know if I should feel sad or glad that the Black Swan should have left its wild ways behind and become civilised.

    1. Interesting that the Lesser Black-Backed Gull clearly has the best forward vision. I haven't checked Herring Gulls for this, and must. Both species harass other birds to make them drop food which they then catch in midair, something for which good short-range binocular vision is necessary (and also, of course, lots of practice dropping and catching sticks).