Saturday, 21 November 2020

A busy Saturday in the park. A steady breeze allowed Black-Headed Gulls to hover motionless as they competed to catch the food that someone was throwing for them. A Carrion Crow joined in. They can hover and catch in midair too, but not as well as the agile gulls.

Another crow bathed in the pool at the top of the Dell waterfall.

The usual customers were lined up along the edge of the Long Water expecting their peanuts: a Jackdaw ...

... a Jay ...

... and a Magpie.

It's unfair to regard Magpies as birds of ill omen. They behave much like the other corvids, and are wonderfully observant and quick and entertaining to watch.

The tables at the Lido restaurant have been taken away again as part of the official drive for maximum misery, but plenty of people were queuing for takeaway snacks and the Starlings turned up in the hope of harvesting crumbs.

A Robin prospected for bugs in a freshly dug flower bed in the Rose Garden, probably the same bird as the one I filmed yesterday.

The Coal Tit at the bridge was having trouble with the larger tits knocking her out of the way, and it took a while to coax her down to my hand.

A young Herring Gull played with a bungee cord, enjoying the way it twanged back when pulled.

For several days a Grey Heron has been standing at the top of the rapids in the Diana fountain. There can't be any fish here, as the fountain has only recently been started after being dry for months.

The Cormorants at the top of the Long Water seem to have pretty much fished out the area. This one dived many times before coming up with a disappointingly small prey.

A Mute Swan swept up the Serpentine at zero altitude, its wingtips brushing the water, saving energy from the surface effect like a Russian ekranoplan.

A female Mallard in the Italian Garden washed, preened, and rushed around and dived. This seems to help with rinsing her feathers.

There is now a little flock of six Mallards and the familiar Red-Crested Pochard, who seems to be the boss of the outfit and chases off intruding Coots.


  1. When I went past the Vista today, I was pleasantly surprised to see 6 Gadwalls, 5 male and 1 female

    1. Yes, I saw them too. Usually with Gadwalls the sex ratio is more even, as the females breeding in boxes in Buckingham Palace gardens are safe from predators.

  2. Apparently, jackdaws are the main predator of the grubs of whatever blight it is that is destroying box plants. A desirable asset to many gardens, therefore.

    1. Vine weevils? I've seen Carrion Crows going after these with a vengeance in the planters in the Italian Garden.

  3. The cause of the blight of the box plant is he Box-tree Moth Cydalima perspectalis, which is a striking moth that was accidentally introduced to the UK from south-east Asia. The moth was first recorded here in 2007, and the caterpillars in 2011.

  4. Swans in general look (and behave) like something a soviet military engineer would think up. That's a compliment on both species, by the way! They do call their graceful but deadly Tu-160 "white swan", though.

    Poor Coal Tit. She looks scared. Thank God she got her daily food ration to soothe her frayed nerves. Great Tits are bullies, and I wonder what they'd be capable of if they were just swan-sized.

    1. At least they don't have missile launchers. That would be the end of civilisation as we know it.