Sunday 16 January 2022

Recent mild weather has produced a false feeling of approaching spring. A Great Spotted Woodpecker drummed in a tree near the Albert Memorial.

The small birds were are also in a springlike mood, and a pair of Long-Tailed Tits chased each other through the hawthorn edge at the top of Buck Hill.

Nearby a pair of Blue Tits were doing the same in a tree.

Another fluffed itself up near the Italian Garden.

The Magpies near the bridge were in a boisterous mood ...

But a Robin perched quietly on a branch below and looked thoughtful.

Tom got an interesting picture of a Goldcrest which had come out on the fence in the Flower Walk, a most unusual thing for a Goldcrest to do.

Also in the Flower Walk, a picture by Neil of a Chaffinch in a clump of dogwood.

The Peregrines returned to the barracks tower. When first seen they were apparently sharing a pigeon, and you could see some loose feathers floating around. But they kept going to the back of the ledge with it and I couldn't get a picture. Later they both came out and perched on the edge, as usual a long distance apart.

A closer view of the female, who is lighter coloured than her mate.

The Great Crested Grebes on the Long Water were guarding their stolen Coot nest from its rightful owners.

Another stared from under the willow near the bridge.

The very aggressive Mute Swan at the east end of the Serpentine was in a foul mood, attacking other swans at random.

Two Gadwall drakes washed and preened on the Long Water.

Another picture by Tom, from Fisher's Green in the Lea Valley Park (which is the scene of the early chapters of Izaak Walton's The Compleat Angler). This is a Silver Wood Duck, a natural colour variation of the Carolina Wood Duck which is an American relative of the Mandarin. Obviously this beautiful bird is not a resident, and must have escaped from a collection.


  1. What an incredible-looking duck! I hope it will attach itself to the Mandarins so that it doesn't feel lonely.

    Happy to report our local Blackbird, contrary to what I said yesterday, is in full song now, or at least was today. It must be that they perceive the hours of light are growing, because it is still quite cold here.

    Intriguing picture of the Goldcrest. I have never seen one out of a tree.

    1. Glad to hear your Blackbird is cheering up the desolation of winter. But here at least, I think this false start has to come to an end soon. Luckily all creatures and the blossoming trees seem to be able to recover and start again when spring comes properly.

  2. Something quite ghostly about the silver Wood Duck- I did get to see it on my visit up the Lea Valley last week. I wasn't particularly looking for it but swam out from a fallen willow on the navigation channel. A good day out with Cattle Egrets, several Goosander, male Smew & a few Bramblings the highlights.

    Love the Goldcrest photo-looks like it has a pencil moustache!

    1. I like the silly black moustaches on Jays that make them look like Kathakali dancers (or a bit like Groucho Marx).

    2. Goldcrests always reminded me of characters in the Bayeux Tapestry. Re the bizarre behaviour, I wonder if it was curious about the photographer or if there was a flat filter on the lens it had spotted its reflection in. Jim

    3. I think Goldcrests are as indifferent to people as a tiny bird can manage. They are neither frightened nor curious. Tom's lens has no filter, and does have a massive lens hood that makes the lens itself all but invisible.

  3. Have seen that swan being a bully more than once :(