Sunday, 5 January 2020

A dismal grey winter day didn't discourage a Robin in the Rose Garden from giving us its beautiful but belligerent song. In winter pairs spilt up and hold separate territories, and both sexes sing to defend them.

A Song Thrush near the leaf yard was not feeling enthusiastic and only uttered a few phrases.

A mother was showing her little daughter how to feed the small birds near the bridge. Small birds distrust children, who are apt to scream when a bird lands on their hand, but I gave them some pine nuts, the best bribe, and sure enough the Great Tits started coming out.

They are bold enough to come to the hand of a stranger, and Blue Tits will follow when they see the example.

Occasionally a Robin will come too, but Coal Tits really have to know you, and Chaffinches and Nuthatches take serious work over weeks or months.

Two Magpies chatted on a tree stump.

The usual two Pied Wagtails were on the football fields of the Crystal Palace site, in the longer grass where the going is difficult but there are more insects.

I've included the out-of-focus one in the background because it shows that they are not a pair, but both females with grey backs rather than the black of a male.

I went there to photograph the male Peregrine on the barracks tower. He was looking up, hardly necessary because he is the top predator in terms of both rank and altitude on the tallest building for miles around.

The male Little Owl near the Henry Moore sculpture was out on a branch.

A young Herring Gull on the Serpentine played with a rotten old conker that it had dredged up from the bottom of the lake.

Nesting activity is increasing on the island, with eight Grey Herons present and four nests from last year being renovated.

Another heron on the Long Water stared at some Cormorants, clearly wishing they'd go away because they were disturbing the fish.

Three Mute Swans flew past the Big Bird statue (which is called Isis, but she was one of the few Egyptian deities to be completely human in form).

A pleasing picture by Tom of a Pheasant at the reflection pool at Rainham Marshes.


  1. I wonder why the called the Big Bird statue Isis. Wasn't she a cow? Plutarch said she turned into a swallow at Byblos while looking for Osiris though.

    Small birds are Love, with a capital L.

    1. There's a rather vague blurb on a notice next to the statue about Isis being a 'nature goddess'. I think the sculptor may be been confusing 'Isis' and 'ibis'. Anyway, this big shiny green thing is perfectly pleasant to look at, and brings a touch of interest to the flat grey Diana drain.