Monday, 4 January 2021

A dark grey day of constant slight drizzle. But at least there was a Robin in the Rose Garden to add a touch of colour and a few phrases of song.

There was also a Great Spotted Woodpecker in a treetop.

A single male Goldfinch, almost certainly the same one as seen yesterday, was twittering in a treetop near the Henry Moore sculpture.

A Grey Heron on the boathouse roof nattered uneasily and moved away from a pair of herons at the other end of the ridge. Herons have a very large personal space, and overcrowding can lead to a flight.

Two pairs of Egyptian Geese were displaying at each other on the island, directly under the tree where baskets have been put up to encourage more herons to nest. The Egyptians may be planning to take over the baskets, something that has caused problems at the heronry on the island in Regent's Park.

The heron in the Dell was fishing on the small waterfall.

A Common Gull had to get out of the way of a Mute Swan taking off.

The Black Swan was at the bridge, eating algae from the stonework.

Shovellers don't just filter food from the water. They also eat algae at the edge of the lake.

A female Shoveller had a flap.

The Red-Crested Pochard -- Mallard trio have managed to break the netting around one of the planters in the Rose Garden so that they can get in without having to fly.

The drake fluffed up his bouffant hairdo prodigiously.

The Goldeneye was still at the east end of the Serpentine, diving incessantly.

Four Coots enjoyed a fight.

The number of Coots in the park is steadily increasing, and there are now over 350 of them in the park. Coots have been in Central London for less than 100 years, after some eggs were put into Moorhen nests in St James's Park. As so often with introductions, things have got out of control.

There were two bunches of flowers on the statue of Edward Jenner in the Italian Garden -- well deserved, for with his discovery of smallpox vaccination he probably saved more lives than anyone else in history.

He also studied birds, and was the first person to describe how Cuckoo nestlings push their host's eggs out of the nest.


  1. Where did Coots come from, if they were introduced? St James's does seem positively overrun by them , when they all line up somewhere.
    And, how unusual to have a single Goldfinch, usually so gregarious. Wondering what happened there, to leave him on his own.

    1. Coots are a common wetland species and it would have been easy to raid nests for the eggs. I see that the Collins Bird Guide rates Moorhens as commoner than Coots nationally. Not so in London, where Coots crowd the Moorhens out.

  2. There are a few solitary Goldifinches here as well. Maybe their flock is out of sight to us but the bird knows where they are?

    Prodigious bouffant on the Pochard. Elvis Presley, eat your heart out!

    1. Goldfinches can't keep quiet, I think, if there are others anywhere near.

    2. It would be good if there were other Goldfinches near, but I couldn't see or hear any except this one on two consecutive days.