Thursday 9 December 2021

Two Mistle Thrushes could be heard today, the usual one in the rowan on Buck Hill and another beside the Serpentine which was out of sight in a treetop.

There was also a Magpie in the rowan ...

... and a bit later a Blue Tit, not interested in the fruit but looking for insects in the bunches.

A flock of Magpies bickered in a tree beside the Long Water. We don't usually see so many together, and it looks as if numbers are increasing.

A Robin foraged in fallen red leaves under a bush in the Flower Walk.

The red side of a Great Spotted Woodpecker was lit by a ray of sunshine as it worked its way up a plane tree.

A Grey Wagtail ran along the edge of the Serpentine in the low winter light. If you get well ahead of an advancing wagtail and stay still, it will often come right up to you.

A Pied Wagtail was doing the same on the other side.

The Grey Heron was in the nest on the island again. It had just chased another heron out of its territory.

On the wire basket below, another heron reached down to have a drink. It's remarkable how far they can reach without overbalancing.

Herring Gulls of various ages wandered around the edge of the Serpentine. Most of the Herring Gulls in the park are in the first four years of their life. Since they routinely live to over 30, it's a sign of how fast their numbers are increasing, thanks to the breeding colony in Paddington. (Pretty dubious thanks, in fact -- there are too many in the park and they are having a catastrophic effect on the attempts of geese and ducks to breed.)

A Black-Headed Gull I haven't seen before, with an orange ring 2V05. It turns out to have been ringed by Bill Haines, probably right here.

Gadwalls dabbled and a Tufted Duck dived in a fountain in the Italian Garden.

The shire horses were out on Buck Hill, pulling a chain rake to pick up the grass cut by the mower which they also pull. Usually the grass is collected and loaded on to the cart by a fair-sized group of volunteers from Bloomberg or some similar City firm getting a taste of real work. But today only one hardy girl was braving the December chill.


  1. Black-headed Gull 'orange 2V05' (metal ring number: EZ73350) was ringed by me on the north shore of the Serpentine on 24th November 2020. It was an adult female at ringing. She was seen again three days later, but this is the first sighting since, thus the first of this winter. it's good to see that she's made it back to the Park from wherever she has been summering (probably somewhere in northern or eastern continental Europe).

    1. Thanks for the information. By the way, EZ73323 is often seen on the south shore at Fisherman's Keep. It likes to stand on a lifebelt post, though the Czech gull ET05.589 has pushed it off its favourite place several times in the past week. EZ73319 has been in the same area recently. It has a limp but its leg is not broken and it seems likely to recover.