Friday 31 December 2021

There was a good attendance of thrushes around the rowan trees on Buck Hill, with several Mistle Thrushes ...

... a Song Thrush ...

... a flock of Redwings ...

... and the local family of Blackbirds that live in a nearby hawthorn.

Only a Fieldfare was missing. We may have to wait for the Winter Wasteland to be dismantled to get a chance of seeing one, as they often come to pick up worms from the ruined grassland.

A Blackbird clucked uneasily because there were Magpies and Jays in the nearby tree, but it wasn't in full-scale fury or panic.

A surprise was to see a Blue Tit eating rowan fruit. I had thought they only visited these trees to look for insects, but I was wrong.

It took three visits to see as much as one eye of the well hidden Little Owl.

A Robin looked out from a rose bush in the Rose Garden.

A Carrion Crow drank on the edge of the Serpentine.

Two Grey Herons were in a nest on the island, with three more nearby.

One landed delicately on a very thin branch which sagged three feet under its weight, but herons have such perfect control of slow flight and balance that it was not troubled by this tricky touchdown.

The Black-Headed Gull at the Diana fountain landing stage, prematurely in full breeding plumage, warned other gulls not to dare to enter its territory.

Both the rabbits were at the Henry Moore sculpture.

Snowdrops are coming out near the Dell.

And now for something completely different. When drains get blocked in the park, a firm called Hydro Cleansing is called in. They have a fleet of beautifully decorated vehicles, and this is one of their latest acquisitions, a vacuum tanker depicting the Wrath of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. The driver told me that it took the artist two months to execute this wonderful set of paintings with an airbush.

They also have a tanker with pictures of the Hydra, the fearsome many-headed sea monster which grows ten new heads for every one that a hero cuts off. I look forward to seeing it. How this art cheers up a mundane and smelly task.

A very happy New Year to all readers, and thank you for faithfully reading the blog during a dull season without much to report.


  1. And to you too, and may it be better for all of us than the recent dismal offerings.

  2. Wonderful sense of place. "Both the rabbits" ... I liked that. Wishing you much scholarly amusement in this new year.

    1. A happy New Year to you too. Sad to say, there really are only two rabbits left after foxes and myxomatosis have done their work, and they seem to be the same sex as there is no sign of breeding.

  3. Happy New Year Ralph, you contrive to make a "dull season" anything but dull! This morning c. 9.0 am many Redwing in rowans were joined not only by usual Blackbirds but also pair of Chaffinch, flock of Long Tailed Tits, Blue Tits while Mistle Thrush sang defiantly in neighbouring tree.

    1. Happy New Year. The Mistle Thrush was more than defiant this afternoon, and attacked a Blackbird that was eating rowan fruit. I've seen Chaffinches picking fruit, spitting out the pulp and swallowing only the pips.

  4. Isn't that Black-Headed Gull a bit optimistic about the timing? To be thinking of breeding now...

    The Hydro Cleansing vehicle is **amazing**! I wish they'll show us the one with the hydra too. It's simply wonderful. It warms my heart to see a company doing their job with gusto and flair.

    Hoping you'll get Fieldfares soon. I love seeing all the different thrushes together.

    1. I don't think that gull is thinking of breeding. They never breed here, though some of them fly only a short way to breeding grounds on the fringes of London. This one just enjoys dominance and throwing his weight around.