Monday 27 September 2021

The second pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull (the one with grey legs) caught a Feral Pigeon in its usual hunting ground near the Triangle car park.

I hastily switched to video. While it was struggling with its prey in the water, a Coot saw the fight and tried to join in, just because Coots like fighting.

A young Herring Gull had scraped all the melted ice cream off a tub and was playing with the remains.

One of the two young Great Crested Grebe chicks had been catching insects and had got separated from its parents. It headed off to find them, calling loudly.

A Moorhen in the Dell went over its chick looking for fleas and lice, which provide a nutritious snack.

The orphaned Mute cygnet from the Serpentine was busking about on the Long Water as if the place belonged to it, trying to expel some adult swans which had wandered under the bridge.

Perhaps it was working up its courage, because soon afterwards it sailed up to the four cygnets on the nesting island and joined them. They seemed to accept it, at least for now.

The Shoveller drakes ...

... and Mallard drakes are coming out of eclipse and regrowing their smart green head feathers.

A female Mandarin is not troubled by such things, and looks quietly elegant all year round.

A Cormorant shone while drying its wings during a sunny interval.

The male Peregrine was on the tower, shifting about restlessly in the chilly wind.

A Carrion Crow looked for insects in clumps of cut grass left by a rotary mower.

This area beside the leaf yard was trampled into a swamp by throngs of people feeding the Rose-Ringed Parakeets, and has been fenced off for 'ground restoration', which in practice means leaving it to turn into a jungle. Just the place for a young fox to wander around, feeling safe behind the fence but curious about the people looking over.

Ivy flowers, though not much to look at, produce a great deal of nectar and are much liked by insects. Common Wasps and a Hornet were visiting a patch at the back of the Lido.

An arbutus tree near the bridge has both flowers and fruit. The fruit has been developing very slowly since last year.


  1. Animals here will get drunk when eating arbutum fruit beyond a certain quantity. I don't know if drunk is the right word - they lose coordination, look dazed and fall all over themselves, quadrupeds and birds alike.

    It seemed to me as if the Coot wished to kill the pigeon itself. They're not killers of other birds, right?

    Well done on the orphaned swan. It looks as if will be able to hold its own.

    1. It seems that the fruit of the strawberry tree, which contains a great deal of sugar, spontaneously ferments when it is overripe and becomes alcoholic. Looking this up, I found that the shield of coat of arms of Madrid shows a bear eating the fruit of a strawberry tree.

      I have no idea what the Coot was thinking -- probably not thinking at all but running instinctively towards a fight.

    2. Yup, "el oso y el madroño". I seem to remember the bear represented Ursa Maior (some say Bootes, not Ursa Maior), whose seven stars are also depicted in the coat of arms of Madrid. The strawberry tree had to do with some dispute regarding ownership of pasture and grazing land or such like. Utterly unpoetical.

    3. Yes, I found out about the ownership thing when I was looking up the coat of arms. A dispute between church and state about who owned what in Madrid was decided by a ruling that the land and its fruits belonged to the state and the animals to the church. After this the tree was added to the coat of arms.