Saturday 19 December 2020

 A day of sunshine and torrential rain. A Starling chattered on a twig above the heads of the Saturday crowd during a sunny spell.

Both the Coal Tits in the leaf yard came out to take pine nuts from the railings. They're particularly fond of these nuts, and in places where there are stone pines they live in them and pick the seeds out from the cones.

One of the Robins here comes to my hand to be fed, but the other one constantly flies out and attacks it. In spring they're probably mates, but in winter it's no holds barred.

A Jackdaw waited against a background of the last few remaining yellow leaves.

A Feral Pigeon floated happily at Peter Pan. They can't swim, but they can take off from water so being out of their depth doesn't worry them.

A Grey Heron kept watch from the top of a cedar near the bridge.

The Carrion Crows are getting bolder and bolder, and the pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull is having increasing difficulty in fending them off. He wasn't really bothering to defend this kill, as it was his second of the day and he wasn't very hungry any more.

This is one of our old regular Black-Headed Gulls, ring number EX63684. It was ringed as a young adult by Roy Sanderson in December 2011. These birds routinely live to over 30.

A Great Crested Grebe cruised around in a threatening attitude defending the pair's territory in the water around the island.

A Gadwall drake looked quietly elegant, like an old-school gentleman in his country tweed suit.

As usual, the Goldeneye was diving far out in the middle of the Serpentine.

When the rain started it was serious, and I had to shelter under the bridge for half an hour. You could hardly see across the lake.

A pair of Moorhens stoically endured the downpour ...

... which reduced the lawn under the Henry Moore sculpture to a swamp. That suited Moorhens and Jackdaws fine, and they wandered around looking for worms that had floated to the surface.

Another pair of long-term residents: the incompetent Egyptian Geese, who are at least twenty years old, preened in the half-flooded Italian Garden.


  1. Hard to believe that the Gull is over 20. It looks so youthful.

    I had thought the swan and the gulls were actually sitting in sand, and was very puzzled trying to remember whether there were sandboxes in Kensington Gardens. Then I realized it was actually the effect of rain falling down like vengeance! It's incredible how after such a heavy storm the sun popped in again as if nothing had happened. Here when there is rain the sun calls it a day and goes home.

    1. The lifespan of an Egyptian Goose is said to be 15 to 20 years, but the birds in the Italian Garden are still running and flying as well as they ever did. They were the first Egyptians to arrive in the park in recent times, though there's a record of a pair in 1924.

  2. Black-headed Gull EX63684 was ringed in the Park on 14th December 2011 as an 2nd calendar year bird (hatched in 2010) according to the ringing records. So it was 9 yrs and 5 days since ringing when you saw it on the 19th December, Ralph. This would be analogous to it to being in its late 20's in human years.

    1. Thanks. I thought it must be older than that, as Roy Sanderson was already into EY during his last active years.