Sunday 21 November 2021

A Pied Wagtail looked for insects in fallen leaves at the Lido.

A small flock of Long-Tailed Tits flew along the edge of the Serpentine.

Neil sent a portrait of one of the Carrion Crows that waylays people crossing the bridge.

Mark Williams photographed this male Great Spotted Woodpecker in St James's Park.

I heard one this morning on Buck Hill, but it fell silent before I could get near and I didn't find it.

The middle one of these three Cormorants on the raft in the Long Water was playing with a twig, as if seized by an unseasonal nesting instinct.

In the last few years Cormorants, once purely seabirds, have started nesting inland in rocky places.

The two newly independent young Great Crested Grebes on the Long Water are still in good order.

An adult at the island was in pure monochrome winter plumage ...

... but a few yards away was another with plenty of ginger on it. I don't know whether it was going into or coming out of its winter feathers, but some grebes never go pale in winter. I think that they get darker as they grow older and tend to keep their colours all year round.

A Coot attacked a teenage Moorhen at one of the small boathouses, and to its surprise was sent packing.

Another Moorhen explored the drifted leaves at the edge of the lake.

This mud-stained Mute Swan had been chased on to the grass near the Italian Garden by the dominant male on the Long Water. It was still there the second time I went round the lake. It needed to sneak back down when the old bully was up the other end of the lake, and hastily take off and fly out. Spending the night on the bank is not a good idea because of the foxes.

A pair of Egyptian Geese preening on the edge of the Serpentine saw another pair go by and shouted defiance at them. Even in winter they are highly territorial.

The crude old plank bridge across the waterfall in the Dell has been replaced. When I saw the workmen pouring new concrete abutments, I was hoping we'd get a picturesque copy of Monet's Japanese-style bridge at Giverny, copied in a hundred parks -- it may be a cliché but clichés are clichés because they are true.

Unfortunately we have got this severely utilitarian steel thing, which would look OK on a modern building but is sadly out of place in the pretty setting of the Dell.

Worse, it has blocked the view of the rocks at the bottom where the Grey Wagtail stands. And the water pipes which ran along the underside of the old plank have been left as they were, ugly and tatty. Not a success.

At the Winter Wonderland people pay to have dreadful tortures inflicted on them. I would pay to be spared.


  1. I like ferris wheels myself, but everything else belongs in a concentration camp.

    Whoever designed that bridge ought to get flogged mercilessly. What lack of sensibility.

    1. I don't think anyone designed that bridge, in the sense of paying any attention to what it looked like. It's just a few sections of industrial bridging units. You can probably see the same thing in a thousand factories.

  2. Ugly new bridge for sure.

    To add to your comment about Cormorants I think most inland breeding ones do so in trees-especially in London & the south-east. Some also breed at ground level on islands too.

    1. Thanks for the information about Cormorants. it makes sense of the fact that the bird was playing with a twig. I had thought of them as always having rocky nests on the ground. Clever of them to adapt to arboreal nesting.

  3. Am in a coffee shop, trying hard not to lol at your opinions on Winter Wonderland :)

    1. I think you're still allowed to laugh in coffee shops.