Sunday, 16 February 2020

The promised high winds didn't come, and it was just an ordinary nasty February day. It wasn't raining when I went out, but soon started and became quite heavy.

The Redwings were out in force on the Parade Ground with a few Mistle Thrushes.

When the rain started they began pulling up worms at a great rate.

Unlike most of the Mistle Thrushes in the park at the moment, this one is a resident rather than a migrant. It's one of a pair that nest every year near the Albert Memorial, here photographed on the lawn a few yards from the memorial. It's used to people and you can get much closer to it than to the ones on the Parade Ground.

This Robin in the Rose Garden wouldn't sing for me, but it still looked very decorative against its matching background.

A Grey Heron in a nest on the island shook out its feathers.

Mike Harris sent me this picture which shows how long a heron's tongue is.

It also shows the scaly patches that some herons have on their bills. I don't know whether this is normal or not, but some herons, such as this one fishing under the Italian Garden, have perfectly smooth bills.

A few yards away under the dead willow, the incompetent Coot is still unable to get a nest together.

A Tufted drake wasn't bothered by the rain.

In fact waterfowl find it an aid to preening, as this Gadwall drake was doing at the Lido ...

... along with some Mute Swans and a Pochard.

Swans court by mirroring each other's movements. The ritual can go on for several minutes, and may or may not lead to mating.

To cheer up today's grey pictures, here are two fine photographs by Rudraksha Chodankar of a Great Spotted Woodpecker ...

... and a Green Woodpecker.


  1. Poor incompetent thing. It ought to go back to Coot school.

    Looking as pretty as it does, anyone would forgive the Robin's noncompliance.

    Glad to see the strong winds didn't materialize. I've seen images of airplanes performing crosswind landings at Heathrow and it was really scary, if spectacular.

    1. I've also looked at the the crosswind landings, none scarier than this one of a majestic A380 which got down at an alarming angle and then veered off the runway, possibly because of burst tyres but no one lost more than their lunch. Using a telephoto lens exaggerates the sideways look, of course.

    2. Even though it is a maneuvre pilots practice often, it will still take one's breath away. Such graceful precision in the middle or a roaring gale.

  2. Lovely portrait of the drake Gadwall- really can appreciate its subtle beauty.

    Interesting both the woodpeckers are male- maybe the girls didn't want to get their feathers wet in the rain!

    1. Males get photograhed more because you hear them drumming and rush around the trees looking for them.

  3. I know at least female Great-spotted Woodpeckers also drum & have watched them do it.

    1. Thank you. I didn't know that. By the way, four GSWs have been seen here recently, maybe two pairs. There have been occasional chases.