Monday 8 November 2021

A flock of Starlings flew over the Round Pond chased by a Sparrowhawk. As they receded into the distance I think I saw it catch one of them.

The Black Swan had come up from the main lake to the Round Pond.

There are now plenty of Common Gulls on the pond -- numbers may build up to as many as 50 in midwinter. One stole a piece of toast from a Black-Headed Gull.

Bread has an unfortunate attraction for many birds. This Carrion Crow at the Dell restaurant had a bit of wholemeal, but that is almost as bad for them as the white stuff.

A crow washed on the shore.

A Starling shone in a sunny interval on a bare black lime tree beside the Serpentine Road.

The Grey Heron that hangs around the Lido restaurant was so intent on looking for leftovers to loot that it missed a fish swimming right in front of it.

A second-year Lesser Black-Backed Gull preened and flapped on the edge of the Diana memorial fountain.

When a Moorhen approaches a Black-Headed Gull on a post ...

... the result ...

... is inevitable.

The visiting female Wigeon has been here for a month now and seems to have settled in. She grazed on algae along the edge of the Serpentine, had a little preen, and swam off.

The Eupeodes hoverflies are hanging on in the Rose Garden.

There was an educational jamboree with a picnic in the fenced-off area beside the leaf yard.

I asked what was happening. It seems that this area is finally going to be cleared and reopened to the public after two years. The children had been brought to see the wildlife that had collected and the effect of leaving a bit of ground untouched for some time -- an interesting study. They will have missed the fox that lives there, which will have retreated when they arrived and will soon have to find another home.

Meanwhile the adjacent area around a large oak tree, where the ground has been trodden down and compacted by the feet of thousands of parakeet feeders, will be closed and allowed to recover. A tree maintenance firm was drilling holes in the ground and blowing in compressed air to loosen the soil.

The jungle is attractive, with rampaging brambles and ash saplings, and I shall be sorry to see it go.

Youth slips away.


  1. Sorry to see it go as well. It was a touch of the wild in the heart of megalopolis.

    I know they aren't everyone's cup of tea, but I find gulls, especially smaller ones, irresistible. They are so light, and every movement is so graceful. They happen to be killing machines whose only limit to cause mischief is their size, though.

    I think Aesop could write a very appropriate fable about that Heron.

    1. There will always be corners of neglect in even the most crowded city where wild creatures can thrive. My local Blackbird family, with a male who sings particularly beautifully over a long season, live in the garden of a man who can't be bothered with gardening, so that it is a little rectangle of jungle amid a desert of brick and concrete.

  2. Always a fascinating sight to watch Starlings wheeling around in a tight flock when a Sparrowhawk or other raptor threatens them.

    I've also noticed a small increase in Common Gulls. One bird that has been absent all summer has been Chaffinch but now small flocks locally- I counted at least 22 in the country park down the road. I know you have one or 2pairs throughout.

    1. Chaffinches seem to be making a recovery after being devastated by the foot papilloma virus. They still get it eventually, but maybe they are evolving resistance.

  3. Let's hope so Ralph - used to have a couple of male chaffies taking food near the leaf yard in the early days, and there were three females in the vicinity - now it's a treat just to see one :(

    1. There's a family of them in the shrubbery at the SW corner of the bridge. As you know, the leaf yard has been devastated by parakeet feeders.