Wednesday 29 December 2021

A spell of mild weather has encouraged Robins to start pairing up with their mates. It's a gradual process with these intensely territorial birds, but at least in the Flower Walk there were two pairs getting quite close without trying to murder each other.

There was also a Goldcrest that was dashing around in the treetops singing constantly. But they still have most of the winter to get through.

Two Long-Tailed Tits were together in a tree beside the Long Water. With these gregarious birds you can't easily tell whether they are mates or just two members of a family flock that happen to have got separated from the others.

It was quite a windy day, and the male Little Owl was keeping well down in his shelter.

After seeing yesterday's picture of the two owls close together, Tinúviel asked me whether they were usually so companionable. This reminded me of a picture I took in 2014 of the pair near the leaf yard being very affectionate indeed.

How different from the standoffish Peregrines. The female was on the hotel again today, by herself as usual.

A Redwing ate rowan fruit on Buck Hill.

Several of the Blackbirds that come to these trees are young ones. The males still have dark bills rather than the yellow of full adults. This is usually a sign that they are migrants, as there are few young Blackbirds in the small permanent population.

An alder tree beside the Long Water had both last year's fruit and the new season's catkins.

These trees are very attractive to seed-eating birds such as finches. Here is an earlier picture of a Goldfinch in the same trees.

This is one of the pair of Pied Wagtails that are often seen hunting near the small boathouses. They have become quite used to the passing humans.

The wind was making the two pairs of Grey Herons uncomfortable in their nests, and three of them came down to stand on the moored boats in the lee of the island.

A Cormorant drying its wings had to hold them horizontal to avoid being blown off its perch.

This pair of Great Crested Grebes, which bred successfully last summer, have made several nests during the autumn and winter, though they don't seem to be serious about breeding. They will have to wait till next summer anyway to ensure a supply of small fish for their young.

A Moorhen amused itself by climbing around in dead iris leaves in a planter in the Italian Garden.

A sad casualty of the Winter Wasteland funfair seen at the outflow of the Serpentine.


  1. Gosh, aren't they lovely and affectionate!

    I have a hard time conceiving of a a murderous Robin, but surely they can be little killing machines if they want to.

    Now I wonder if Grebes make a habit of practicing nest-building to get it right for breeding season. They don't have the natural knack of Coots.

    Sad relic of the funfair. There is something so inherently sad captured in that video.

    1. I don't think grebes practise nest building, in the sense of getting it right. They just make a sloppy heap of twigs and weeds and go on adding bits until it more or less holds together.

  2. Lovely shot of the Redwing gorging on berries & enjoyed the old shot of the two affectionate Little Owls.

    We did see a Goldcrest locally last week but I don't see them as much as I used to.

    1. Surprisingly, there are plenty of Goldcrests in the park. There's at least one in each of the yew trees, and there are a fair number of these.