Thursday 19 November 2020

A Jay flew down to take a peanut from Paul's hand. This picture looks as if it was perching, but in fact it's snatching the nut in flight and I was lucky to get the shot, taken at 1/1600 second in poor light.

Starlings poked around briskly in the grass on Buck Hill looking for insects and worms.

Long-Tailed Tits passed through the trees overhead.

A mob of Rose-Ringed Parakeets assembled in a tree near the leaf yard hoping to be fed by visitors. The bright green birds, well camouflaged in summer, become absurdly conspicuous when the leaves fall off the trees.

The notorious Lesser Black-Backed Gull was trying to trap pigeons under the projecting balcony of the Dell restaurant. He didn't get one this time, but the technique has worked for him in the past.

There were Cormorants everywhere -- moving from pool to pool in the Italian Garden ...

... jumping on to a post at Peter Pan ...

... and lining up on the deserted platform of Bluebird Boats before going fishing in the Serpentine.

A Moorhen climbed around on the scaffolding surrounding the marble fountain in the Italian Garden. Not only is it an enjoyable adventure playground, but the scaffolding has been around for so long that there are bugs to eat in the crannies.

The scaffolding is there simply so that the fountain can be jet washed. But, as usual in the park, it hangs around for months while nothing is done, wasting money for its hire.

Two Mute Swans had been chased off the Long Water by the dominant male and have come down in the fountains. Of course, as soon as they arrived, one swan decided it was his territory and started bullying the other.

The Red-Crested Pochard is still in the pool with his Mallard mate. He fished up some small creature and ate it.

Rabbits were once abundant in Kensington Gardens around the Henry Moore sculpture. But now, because of myxomatosis and the teeming foxes, they have almost died out and are a rare sight. This one had something wrong with its left eye, which might be an early symptom of myxomatosis though usually they look much worse when they get it.

Another crop of huge Shaggy Parasol mushrooms has come up at the northwest corner of the bridge.

A remarkable picture by Lizann's daughter Flo, who heard that a Hoopoe had been seen at Northill in Bedfordshire, went there and got a picture of it in an autumn tree.

Hoopoes have been seen in the park three times, in 1855, 1967 and 1973, according Andrew Self's splendid book The Birds of London.

Here is a startling Twitter video from Spain which Tinúviel alerted me to. A Scops Owl has discovered how to control a hoverboard by shifting balance, and is enjoying it hugely.


  1. A not so vegetarian Red-crested Pochard. Not that many birds really are.

    I love the videos of skateboarding bulldogs, if not as unexpected as a hoverboarding owl. Jim

    1. I see the RSPB site claims that Red-Crested Pochards eat 'stems, roots and seeds of aquatic vegetation'. But in my experience all ducks and geese will happily eat any small creatures that come their way, and swans actively go looking for aquatic snails.

  2. Something totally surreal about the owl on the hoverboard!

    Interesting you have so many Cormorants at the moment. When I went to Ruislip Lido a couple of days ago there were unusually none. A couple of months back there were getting on for a hundred. Guess they removed a lot of the larger fish so not worth their effort now?

    1. Yes, the Cormorants just go where the fish are. We get a peak now until midwinter when they've pretty much fished out the lake and go back to the river. Then few or none till it starts again in early autumn.

  3. Amazing photo of the hoopoe!

  4. Love the picture of the Hoopoe! I heard one yesterday, perched on an antenna, of all places. As it is unseasonably warm here it was calling "pou pou pou pou."

    Swans can't help themselves.

    1. When my father was posted to Israel we used to have Hoopoes almost every day in the garden, perched on the sprinklers on the buffalo grass lawn. I've only seen one since, again in our garden but this time in Somerset.