Saturday 16 October 2021

The day started wet and then the sun came out. Here is the Robin who lives in the corkscrew hazel in the Flower Walk, seen earlier and later.

A Carrion Crow ignored the drizzle.

Another carried a chestnut away so that it could open the difficult prickly seed case without being disturbed by the other crows.

A Wood Pigeon got as wet as possible at the top of the Dell waterfall.

A Grey Heron perched elegantly on the dead willow near the Italian Garden.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was in his usual place near the Dell restaurant, eyeing a group of bathing Feral Pigeons to see if one would be rash enough to close its eyes.

The number of Cormorants is rising steadily as they take advantage this year's young fish in the lake, and there were seven at the island.

As winter approaches the Egyptian Geese become more territorial for some reason -- these African birds still haven't got the hang of the northern seasons. Here a pair at the Vista are claiming a wide area of grass for themselves.

Another pair cleared an area on the Long Water ...

... and a third pair staged a noisy display on top of the Henry Moore sculpture.

The ultra-blond Egyptians are siblings, not a pair, and make no territorial claims. They seem happy in each other's company. One of them is slightly lame, but nothing is broken so it will probably make a full recovery.

The female Wigeon flew from the Long Water to the Serpentine. She is strangely confident and allows people to get quite close, which happens sometimes with completely wild birds that have never had any contact with humans.

The Shoveller drakes come out of eclipse at different times. This one at the Vista is in full breeding plumage ...

... and this one is still barely recognisable as male. Its yellow eye seems rather dark, and I wonder whether it's an immature drake. Females have brown eyes.


  1. I would agree Ralph with your suggestion that the lower bird is an immature drake. Other than the eye colour you can see the chestnut flack colour starting to appear & a hint of green on the head.

    When Wigeon used to be regular in Richmond Park they were not particularly wary. I think birds soon learn where they are persecuted & where they are safe. It's similar with Teal-on my local patch I visit most Sundays, birds will see few people & are fairly timid. When I do my Thames WeBS counts between Putney & Barnes the birds are so used to large numbers of people walking, jogging, cycling & rowing past them they are as tame as the local Mallard.

    1. I'm told that there are quite a lot of Wigeon in Battersea Park now. And I think we now have two females here. So they seem to be becoming more common as inner-city waterfowl, following in the steps of Gadwall.

    2. Sadly in Richmond Park numbers of both Wigeon & Gadwall have both dipped. I've probably been counting wildfowl on Pen Ponds for about 30 years from September to March. I can remember in the 80's getting some counts of c80 Wigeon & 300 Gadwall. Perhaps the London Wetland Centre attracted the Wigeon as it's a few years since I counted one in the park but one was reported last year. Gadwall numbers rarely get above 20 now & that's on a very good day.

    3. Should have said last week not last year re Wigeon.

  2. I wouldn't have thought that the Egyptians would be so swift of foot!

    I could listen to that Robin singing for hours. Surely I have said this already, but it bears repeating.

    1. Egyptians have long strong legs and can run like the wind, unlike most bigger geese and smaller ducks.

      I only got 15 seconds of that Robin singing, but of course am on the lookout for more.