Wednesday, 25 November 2020

It was a dark and dismal day. A film crew was working in the park, which must have been difficult. A guard huddled next to a heater. You wouldn't think this picture was taken at half past eleven in the morning.

The male Peregrine was on the tower.

He saw the female heading straight for him, and dived out of the way.

She took his place while he flew off in the direction of the Metropole Hilton hotel, where the pair's other day station is. I don't know what their attitude to each other was in this action.

A Robin perched on a twig in the Rose Garden.

There were plenty of Wrens all over the park. This one was at Peter Pan.

Joan Chatterley found a Blackbird in the leaf yard. I haven't seen one there for months.

At the bottom of the yard a Carrion Crow ate an apple that had been put out for the Rose-Ringed Parakeets ...

... but this crow beside the Serpentine examined a satsuma briefly and discarded it. Parakeets don't like citrus fruits either.

The remains of the pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull's breakfast provided a few scraps for some crows and a Herring Gull. It seems odd that Herring Gulls, which are bigger and stronger than Lesser Black-Backs, don't hunt pigeons for themselves.

The odd couple of a Lesser Black-Backed Gull and a Herring Gull called to each other. Lesser Black-Backs, though smaller, have deeper voices.

For the past few days this Grey Heron has been repairing an old nest on the island. Although herons can breed in midwinter, it's too early to start now. Probably it's establishing a claim on the nest.

A pair of Coots ate each other's parasites, combining a show of affection with a tasty snack.

The Red-Crested Pochard in the Italian Garden fluffed up his splendid bouffant hairdo, making it impossible for him to see straight ahead -- or upwards, which is something that less well endowed ducks can do.

Female Tufted Ducks like to gather in little groups to avoid being bothered by males.

A squirrel came down to drink at the little pool in the Dell.

A solitary unicorn guarded the deserted premises of Bluebird Boats, shamefully closed by the Royal Parks management.

There's an article in today's Daily Telegraph about this (behind a paywall, sorry). Please also remember that you can write to the park manager via this link.


  1. Wrote a letter of complaint. I hope they'll listen to reason.

    The picture looks as if it was taken after sunset. Unreal. So desolate an image, too.

    1. Thank you for writing. I have never known the park management listen to reason, but I think that Peter Scott is going to sue them and they'll have to listen to that.

    2. Good. Speak softly and carry a big stick.

  2. Interesting that two kinds of birds would dislike citrus fruits. Did they evolve to reward mammals e.g. monkeys, deer, but repel birds, in view of the large seeds which birds would be unlikely to help disperse? Stop me if I said this before, as I recall some similar discussion.

    It's still my theory that Herring Gulls are less likely to hunt healthy pigeons because most of the time they can simply turn to the worm-dance when they crave protein, although it may sometimes happen. More unclear is why Lesser Black-backs don't copy the worm-dance, is it that less effective for their lankier frames?

    Do you think the female coot was soliciting mating? Seems they couldn't even sustain a mutual preening session. Jim

    1. I've never seen a bird in this country eating an orange. It can't be the acidity that puts them off, as many birds including parakeets happily eat crabapples which are far sourer than a satsuma. Maybe some substance like limonene or linalool, pleasant to us, tastes nasty to them.

      I have seen a Lesser Black-Back worm dancing, just once. Mostly they peck on the ground, which may have the same effect. I've also seen Common and Black-Headed Gulls worm dancing, though you might not have thought that the small gulls would have been able to make the necessary noise. There is certainly a reluctance between Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-Backs to learn each others' ways -- rather like humans of similar race but different religions.

      By the way, today I saw yet another LBB showing hunting behaviour in a crowd of pigeons. But this is a skill that takes years to perfect.

      I don't think female Coots solicit mating. As far as I can see they just get jumped on.

  3. Sorry I did not check the blog in a while and I did not answer your question about where I saw the little owl on Buck hill. I ve seen her again a few days ago . I m not sure how to explain but yes she is in either of the 3 chestnuts trees . She either hides in the leaves of the middle one or on the inside of the one closer to the park office .Atm she is mostly hidding in the leaves. I saw that you have seen her again so I guess you ve found her 😁I ve got some wonderful photos but don t like to disturb her too much even if she is a poser.

    1. Thank you. No one else has managed to photograph her in those trees, so if you have a good picture please send it to the email address given on the blog. I'd prefer to have the original picture so that I can process it myself for the best result.

  4. Sure no problem let me check for the address