Wednesday 14 October 2020

There was an unexpected visitor to the Serpentine.

This is only the third Dunlin I've seen here.

The Lesser Black-Backed Gull with pinkish legs and a dark bill was eating a Feral Pigeon which was still fairly complete. There was no sign of the usual pigeon-eating gull, and I think it's likely that this gull caught the pigeon itself. This is not the gull I filmed recently catching a pigeon, which has straw-coloured legs. So there may be three pigeon killers in the park now. They may both be offspring of the original pigeon eater or they may not, as successful feeding behaviour spreads among gulls -- though in this case it's taken years.

The youngest Great Crested Grebes on the Serpentine were quiet for once, and one was preening by itself. They are showing signs of independence.

Cormorants vied for a place on the wooden posts at the island.

Blondie was attending to her pale wings. With Egyptian Geese every section of the wing seems to be a different colour, which makes them look very complicated.

A skein of Canadas passed overhead.

A view of the elderly Canada x Greylag Goose hybrid at the Lido walking slowly and painfully on its arthritic legs. It can reach the grass on the other side of the path, and can still fly to escape dogs.

A Red Crested Pochard drake was fluffed up to the max.

A Carrion Crow checked the contents of a carrier bag that had been left unattended for a moment and was disappointed to find that there were only clothes in it.

Magpies waiting to snatch scraps from the Lido restaurant terrace passed the time with a minor squabble.

A Starling shone splendidly during a sunny interval.

Two Long-Tailed Tits perched in a peculiar tree next to the Big Bird statue. I think it's an Australian Laurel, Pittosporum tobira.

A flock of Blue Tits passed up the side of the Long Water.

The ivy flowers at the back of the Lido are beginning to wither but still attract plenty of Common Wasps.


  1. A Dunlin! Oh what an extraordinary sight! What was it doing? Was it a stop en route to wherever it is going now?

    In an ideal world the crows would have flown off with the clothes and put them on for show and to spite the owner. Alas, a missed opportunity.

    The poor goose's walk is very painful to watch. It is hard and awful to say this, but perhaps it is outliving its natural span. But who are we to say when it is or isn't time up for anyone.

    1. Shorebirds do occasionally wander into the park: Dunlins, Lapwings, even a Ruff once on the Round Pond, and of course the recent Ringed Plover. They never stay more than a day, and presumably remember where they were going and go there.

      That goose has shown some skill in avoiding the teeming foxes and out-of-control dogs. It will fall to one of them sooner or later, a quicker death than at the hands of some human busybody.

  2. Well done with the Dunlin! I always expect to be too busy to attract these waders, though I'm aware quite a few have been recorded over the years. You're on a roll following so swiftly from your Ringed Plover.

    1. It's a curious thing that, while most errant shorebirds turn up on the Round Pond, Dunlins have always appeared on the Serpentine. I suppose its long muddy sloping concrete edge is the nearest they can find to a mudflat. It did seem to be finding food.