Wednesday, 6 January 2021

More Shovellers have arrived on the Long Water. A flock of eight circled around the air bubbler.

The dominant male Mute Swan at the west end of the Serpentine was in a particularly stroppy mood, busking around and chasing the other swans.

I think it was as a result of his behaviour that a group of swans including the Black Swan suddenly flew across the lake and splashed down on the other side.

No sign of the Goldeneye for the second day running. I think it's left.

Four Coots were fighting in exactly the same place as I saw them at it two days ago. Probably the same two pairs.

A Coot was bringing twigs to a nest site under the willow next to the bridge. They really are unstoppable.

On looking at the picture, there seems to be the bleached body of a dead crayfish in the debris. The Coot wasn't interested in trying to eat it. They will include anything in a nest, even on one occasion the dead body of another Coot.

There were only two Grey Herons in the nests on the island. This one was in the second nest from the top.

They may mess around for months before they actually get on with nesting. Two years ago one pair nested in midsummer.

It's mostly young gulls that you see playing with toys. But even adult Herring Gulls enjoy fishing up stones from the bottom of the lake, the larger the better. As well as playing with them, they like to chew algae off the surface.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was in his favourite place on the roof of the Dell restaurant.

On the edge of the terrace below, a Grey Wagtail was hunting.

An interesting picture from Ahmet Amerikali: a Long-Tailed Tit holding a small larva with its foot in order to eat it. You don't normally see Long-Tailed Tits doing this with their small feet, though true tits often use their larger feet to hold things.

He also got a good shot of everyone's favourite Coal Tit near the bridge.

On the railings beside the Long Water, Starlings stared at Paul to see if he would give them some chopped peanuts.

He did, and there was a wild scramble.

A Carrion Crow drank from a muddy puddle ...

... and another drank from the small pool in the Dell, whose water is recirculated through the pump that powers the waterfall and must taste a bit oily. Anything rather than the water in the lake, which is a drink of last resort.


  1. I think they like their water flavoured. Yes, with mud, but that is still a flavour...

    The Starlings' beaks, on second thought, look so pointy that I shudder for the integrity of Paul's fingers.

    1. Starlings are painfully enthusiastic in feeding from your hand and sometimes draw blood. I'm very fond of them but would never feed them, because once you start they will never leave you alone.

  2. Mesmerising video of the Shovelers feeding. a favourite duck of mine, though wildfowl always have a special place in my heart because as a child taken to London parks to feed the ducks was my introduction to a fulfilling lifetime obsession with the natural world.

    Interesting shot of the Long-tailed Tit holding a larva-not something I can recall observing despite it being a pretty common bird I encounter frequently.

    Good to see all the Starlings too. They will all be hungry today!

  3. Before the building of the Wetland Centre drew away many of our ducks we used to routinely have 50 Shovellers, on one occasion 200, going round in big circles.