Tuesday 30 November 2021

A grey day but the temperature has gone up, a relief. I went to see the Mistle Thrush on Buck Hill, which was in the grass looking for worms.

A Jay landed in one of the small young rowan trees, but before I could get the camera on to it the Mistle Thrush attacked it and chased it into the top of a neighbouring tree.

The Mistle Thrush perched triumphantly in the rowan. It will not let other birds eat its private fruit. It's also getting used to me photographing it, and is much less shy.

There weren't many small birds to see, but in the Flower Walk there was the usual bold Coal Tit ...

... and half a dozen hungry Great Tits.

A Grey Wagtail was at the Lido again. This is the one usually seen in Kensington Gardens rather than on the Serpentine.

There are two Robin territories in the Rose Garden. This is the bird from the west end, less often seen than the other. Quite likely the two are mates in spring, but now they are separated and hostile.

A Herring Gull seized a plastic bag...

... tried to open it, and -- unusually -- failed and gave up. Gulls are intelligent and resourceful but hampered by not having prehensile feet. A Carrion Crow would have ripped it open in seconds.

A young Herring Gull pecked open a conker (for overseas readers, that's a horse chestnut seed). It sampled the bitter contents, didn't like the taste, and abandoned it.

A Black-Headed Gull now has a completely dark head, way out of season but different birds change at different times.

A pair of Great Crested Grebes on the Serpentine exchanged greetings. Mates are affectionate all year round, not just in the breeding season.

The Mute Swan family on the Long Water are still together, and the teenagers will stay with their parents until the next breeding season, when they will be unceremoniously kicked out.

The young rabbit was by the Henry Moore sculpture. There's no sign of breeding -- I fear our only two rabbits are the same sex.

Neil photographed this odd-shaped hairy rose hip in the little steep path down from the Triangle car park. We think it's an Alpine Rose, Rosa pendulina, but are by no means sure.

A picture from Tinúviel to cheer up sparrow-deprived Londoners: a House Sparrow in Málaga. I do hope the cleaner London air will allow these birds to re-establish themselves in the centre.


  1. I have wondered about birds' taste buds- looking at the young gull: now we know.
    Thank you to Malaga for the sparrow! To my delight, I've just encountered a small flock at the bottom of Kingsland Basin, off the Regents Canal, in Haggerston (where a small 'wildlife' space has been created). Ever hopeful for their return in greater numbers.

    1. There is a House Sparrow colony in Regent's Park, at the zoo, maintained by feeding. Perhaps this is an offshoot from there. though it's quite far along the canal. Or from Tower Hill, where there are sparrows, or from Victoria Park. Encouraging, anyway.

    2. There seem to be more, the more east/north you go. I know a few flocks around the Springfield Park, Stamford Hill area. I encountered the Zoo ones some years ago, you could even look into a nest or two at eyelevel, they were so used to people. Must have a look at Tower Hill.

    3. Neil has also discovered two groups of sparrows close together on the east bank of the Thames (i.e. what would elsewhere be the north bank, but the river bends here) between Putney Bridge and Hammersmith Bridge, a bit upstream from the Fulham football ground at Craven Cottage. This is closer to central London than my previous knowledge of the closest flock on the west side, which was in St Mary's Catholic cemetery between Kensal Green cemetery and Wormwood Scrubs.

  2. Hoping that sparrows will return to central London. They are so much fun to have around; it really saddens me that they are vanishing from so many large city centres (they have disappeared almost completely from central Madrid, for instance). The population in small towns and villages is still going strong, so thank God for that.

    That Mistle Thrush appears to have quite a lot of character and a bit of a temper. Is it still alone? I wonder why their fellow birds haven't arrived yet in the park.

    1. That Mistle Thrush is a permanent resident and doesn't migrate with the others. We have a few that stay in the park all year round, including at
      least two breeding pairs.

  3. Good to see the Mistle Thrushes looking fine. I haven't seen the ones in my local park while passing through to the shops- there's usually 2 pairs. I did see 3 together at Warren Farm, not too far away on Monday.

    I wish I could donate some House Sparrows to you-plenty in my garden. They do seem to do well in parts of the suburbs. I have 2 BBS squares. The one in Ealing which I've done for over 20 years I rarely record the species yet this year I started a new square close to home in the Greenford/Northolt area where it was by far the most numerous species. Both squares in the same borough.