Thursday, 9 January 2020

Great Crested Grebes' 'cat display' is a rarer event than their usual standing dance with weed. After the initial display, which can go on for several minutes, one bird rushes away and assumes a spread-out attitude slightly reminiscent of a cat sitting down, while the other approaches. Perhaps to a grebe's mind this symbolises a parent carrying a load of chicks, or maybe the bird is simply trying to look as large as possible. Either sex may do the display, and grebes don't have much idea of what sex they are anyway.

A Cormorant needs a takeoff run of about 30 feet, and can only just fly out of the pools in the Italian Garden. This one had just had a failed attempt which ended in a hasty ditching before it hit the kerb. It backed off to the far edge of the pool, spread its wings in preparation, and had another go which succeeded.

The three young Moorhens in the Italian Garden have now been joined by an adult, evidently one of their parents -- third from left in this picture. They are all enjoying climbing around in the dead irises. No doubt there are insects to be caught here, but partly it's for the fun of climbing with their big prehensile feet.

Another Moorhen was climbing in a tree beside the Long Water.

The morning sunlight brought out the colours of a Shoveller drake.

There used to be five Canada x Greylag Goose hybrids on the Serpentine, but their numbers have dwindled and this bulky and awkward-looking creature may be the last one.

Every time I pass this post beside the Serpentine the same Black-Headed Gull, ring number EZ73323, is on it. This must be quite a high-ranking gull to avoid being knocked off.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull is losing the dark streaks of winter plumage from his head and will soon be dazzling white again. He had eaten his breakfast pigeon and was looking for lunch ...

... while a Carrion Crow finished off the last scraps from his previous victim.

Another crow had only got a piece of nasty white bread, and took it to ther water to dunk it and make it easier to swallow.

A Jay in a holly tree near the Italian Garden waited to swoop down and take a peanut from my hand.

The Little Owl near the Henry Moore sculpture was out in the morning but went back into the hole when clouds obscured the sun.

You wouldn't think these tiny undeveloped January leaf buds were worth eating, but a Wood Pigeon had other ideas.

A Robin beside the Long Water had an odd dark ring round its eye, but looking at the original large version of the picture showed that its feathers were in good condition.


  1. That's a very strange thing. Can birds have dark rings?

    Just when I thought Grebes couldn't get any more endearing and lovable, boom, wrong again. I wonder if cuteness tends to infinity.

    That's quite a self-confident looking gull, that's fore sure.

    1. That look from the gull simply means 'What, aren't you dead yet? Hurry up, I'm hungry.'

  2. Lovely video of the displaying grebes. It amused me to see the Black-headed Gull photo bomb it!

    The Lesser Black-back is looking very handsome now. Enjoyed the puffed up Little Owl too. It was a beautiful day until the rain cam just before 3pm!

    1. A bit of luck with the grebes. Have never had a chance to video that before.