Monday 14 December 2020

A sunny morning ...

... soon clouded over and it began to rain hard.

A Chaffinch stared from a tree near the bridge.

There wasn't much to film, especially as the video camera isn't waterproof. This is what I could see while sheltering under the bridge during the heaviest downpour.

Later the rain slackened slightly. Long-Tailed Tits flitted around the bare twigs looking for insects and larvae. Somehow they find enough to keep them going through the winter, and numbers in the park are stable or even increasing.

The female Peregrine was on the barracks tower.

In very wet weather I've sometimes seen the Peregrines on a deserted building across the Marylebone flyover from their usual station on the Metropole Hilton Hotel. It used to be the local police station, but has been replaced with a newer building nearby. It has a stack of wide ledges that keep the rain off. But it's not as tall as the hotel, and Peregrines go for the highest available place.

A Carrion Crow foraging in the Dell had a lot of white feathers. I think the main cause of this is a poor diet of scraps and rubbish from bins. It particularly affects young crows which are growing and need more protein, but old black birds of any species can also become faded.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Back took advantage of the rain to preen his immaculate feathers. A rich diet of fresh pigeon keeps him in tip-top condition.

Another Lesser Black-Back at the Vista caught a crayfish.

The Goldeneye was in his usual place at the east end of the Serpentine. The barred pattern on his sides is developing well.

The dominant male Mute Swan at the west end passed the time by beating up another male.

Greylag Geese peacefully drank from a puddle.


  1. I wonder that there wasn't a Coot near by taking notes. When it comes to beating up on someone Swans are without parallel.

    Is that heavy rain typical of December? It looks miserable. I confess that I have never been in England in wintertime.

    1. Heavy rain is normal in England in some months, such as December, January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October and November.

    2. Well, all that lush and lovely green everywhere must come at a price... I think I may have mentioned before that there was a tiny spider living on the windowsill of the room I was lodging in at the time and I was extremely puzzled that it would crawl inside without hesitation to shelter from the rain when it began raining. Now I imagine it was well practiced in escaping rain.

    3. There's a children's song:

      The itsy bitsy spider
      Climbed up the waterspout;
      Down came the rain
      And washed the spider out.
      Out came the sun
      And dried up all the rain,
      And the itsy bitsy spider
      Climbed up the spout again.

    4. OMG, I love it! I didn't know the song. English nursery rhymes and children's songs ought to be declared world heritage.

    5. The song is not all that old, and I think it dates from 1920. It seems to have quite a few verses, though probably some have been added later -- see here. It praises persistence, as does the legend of Robert Bruce and the spider/ -- which may equally not be traditional, as it was possibly made up by Sir Walter Scott.