Friday 31 January 2020

A pair of Goldcrests flitted about in a tree near the bridge.

Here's a brief video of them together.

There were also several Long-Tailed Tits here.

The Redwings on the Parade Ground were staying at a distance, but I got a shot of one of them eating a worm.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming in a tree. It flew away.

Rose-Ringed Parakeets were canoodling in one of the small plane trees near the boathouses. This must be the same pair as I videoed four days ago.

Four Carrion Crows shared a veggie burger stolen from the Dell restaurant.

The Grey Heron sitting in the nest on the south side of the island was still shifting around restlessly.

Another heron stood on the weeping beech tree in the Dell.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull's mate hasn't been seen here for a while, but now she has arrived to join him.

A Black-Headed Gull enjoyed a shower in the marble fountain in the Italian Garden.

A squirrel had taken an apple that was put out for the parakeets and was eating it in a tree.

Spring crocuses are coming out ...

... and so are the first daffodils.

Thursday 30 January 2020

The Redwings are back on the Parade Ground after yesterday's disturbance.

There were also two Mistle Thrushes, but so far no Fieldfares.

Several Song Thrushes were singing. This is the one near the leaf yard.

A flock of Long-Tailed Tits hunted along the edge of the Serpentine.

A Robin took pine nuts from a gatepost.

On a fairly mild grey day, both the Little Owls near the Henry Moore sculpture came out at different times. The male perched in front of the hole.

The female owl felt comfortable enough to come out on a branch if she fluffed herself up against the chill.

Some of you may already have seen the story about the Little Owl that was too fat to fly, but for those who haven't here it is. The Suffolk Owl Sanctuary does fine work rehabilitating owls and raptors and where possible releasing them back into the wild.

The male Peregrine was preening on the barracks tower.

The Grey Heron sitting on the nest on the south side of the island looked uncomfortable and kept getting up and changing position. It's a rather small nest by heron standards, and needs more work.

A Herring Gull tackled a very stale poppyseed roll. It really had to exert itself to bite chunks off it.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull is now in full breeding plumage and looking very fine.

When Coots start fighting, others rush to join in.

The fountains in the Italian Garden are working again after a week-long unblocking operation. The white marble fountain was cleaned a few years ago but within a week it was as green as ever. The statues are made of Portland limestone, rather eroded after almost 160 years.

Mark Williams and a friend discovered a Red Admiral Butterfly in St James's Park sluggish with cold. They gave it some cappuccino froth which it seemed to like, and it revived and flew away.

Another fine picture by Tom from Elmley National Nature Reserve on the Isle of Sheppey. A female Sparrowhawk somehow managed to perch on a remarkably spiky branch.

Wednesday 29 January 2020

Two Robins and a Wren hopped around on the path in the Flower Walk, picking up grit and maybe the odd insect larva.

Another Wren on a path, this time beside the Serpentine in the sunshine.

A flock of Long-Tailed Tits went through the trees above it.

A male Chaffinch lurked in a bush near the bridge.

A Dunnock sang in the holly tree above it.

I only got a few seconds of video of him singing. Many birds don't mind having my big telephoto lens pointed at them because it has a deep lens hood that shades the lens. But on the bridge camera I use for video the lens is plainly visible, and birds feel uncomfortable with this big glass eye staring at them.

Stock Doves were moving around in the Little Owls' tree near the Albert Memorial. There was no sign of an owl.

But Tom was at the Elmley National Nature Reserve on the Isle of Sheppey, and got a picture of a Little Owl peering out of a ruined wall where it had a hole.

Little Owls will happily nest in holes in masonry, and even in rabbit burrows like their American cousin the Burrowing Owl.

A mild winter is bringing trees into leaf early, and the leaf buds on this one are large enough to make a satisfying meal for a Wood Pigeon.

There were no Redwings on the Parade Ground because the returfing operation had three tractors ploughing and harrowing the soil near their usual place, followed by a mob of gulls. But they'll be back when things quieten down.

A Grey Heron sat in the nest on the south side of the island. There are definitely eggs now.

A young Herring Gull lurked under an outside table at the Dell restaurant, eyeing a bowl of chips on the next table. It made a pass to grab them but was fended off.

So far in the park we haven't had gulls grabbing food off occupied tables, as far as I know. But the habit is widespread elsewhere, and it looks as if it's spreading here.

Another young Herring Gull played with a plastic buoy, fascinated by the bright colour.

A Mallard washed enthusiastically in the Dell.

A Mute Swan did the same thing on a larger scale on the Serpentine.

A mob of Coots gathered at the edge.

Of course the Moorhens in the Italian Garden can't resist climbing on the exposed ironwork.

Another good picture by Tom from yesterday's visit to Valentines Park in Ilford, a Little Grebe still in winter plumage.

Tuesday 28 January 2020

Word has gone out among the Redwings that the Winter Wasteland site on the Parade Ground is now empty, and a lot more have turned up. Some perched in the trees ...

... and others came down to look for worms in the ruined grass.

They were accompanied by Starlings ...

... and a Mistle Thrush.

This Starling preferred to hunt on one of the surviving patches of grass.

Mark Williams found a Song Thrush in St James's Park singing ...

... to the accompaniment of a passing military band.

This is the female Blackbird in the Rose Garden who comes out to take sultanas. I had already fed her, so she was content to be photographed.

More Chaffinches have turned up near the bridge again, and there are now four or five.

Ahmet Amerikali spent half an hour in the freezing wind at the leaf yard, and was rewarded with excellent shots of a Goldcrest eating a spider ...

... the very shy Coal Tit ...

... and a Long-Tailed Tit hanging upside down.

One of the Grey Herons nesting on the south side of the island was looking intently into the nest. This is one of those times when you wish you had a drone with a camera to see what's in it.

The Polish Black-Headed Gull with ring T4UN is now growing the dark head of its breeding plumage ready for the spring, when it will fly back to Truskaw where it was hatched in 2012.

A visit to the Round Pond found the Black Swan still cruising around majestically.

Work on the Italian Garden fountains continues. The submerged semicircular wall has been topped with sandbags and drained.

This thing was a water filter used when the fountains were powered by a steam engine, intended to stop floating debris from getting into the pump. But now the five smaller fountains are a closed system with the water recirculating through a filter in the engine house, and I thought that the big marble fountain was fed directly from a borehole and is the means by which water is sent into the lake. But evidently the old filter still has some purpose. It used to have solid cast iron gratings over the top, but these are now mostly broken and have been replaced with pieces of modern weldmesh, which were not strong enough and have collapsed.