Tuesday 29 March 2022

On the Thames shore

A day forecast to be cold, grey and drizzly turned out to be perfectly pleasant and there were even sunny intervals. Here is a fine picture by Martin Sacks of dawn at Hyde Park Corner.

One of the pair of Coal Tits near Mound Gate, I think the male, looked down suspiciously from the top of a bush ...

... but the female was happy to take a pine nut from  my hand. With all the Coal Tits I've fed it seems that the females are much more confident than their mates.

A Robin sang amid the peculiar little purple flowers of a cercis bush in the Rose Garden.

A Blackbird looked for food in a flower bed. It hasn't rained for several days and the soil is too dry for finding worms, so he had to be content with a small insect.

A Pied Wagtail perched in a tree beside the Serpentine ...

... and another ran around on the grass.

Our anonymous contributor sent a good picture of a female Greenfinch. Only the males are green, though females have a little flash of colour on wings and tail.

The Tawny Owl looked down from his tree. Tom arrived later to photograph him only to find that he was being mobbed by Jays and had retreated into his hole. He emerged later and Tom got his picture.

Carrion Crows lined up on the railings at Peter Pan looking hopeful. But there are now so many in this area that if you fed any you would be enveloped in a black cloud every time you passed by.

A Grey Heron flew to the island, extending its neck from the usual folded-up flight posture because it was about to soar up and land on a branch.

A young heron from last year played with a bit of rope. Like young gulls, they find any rope or cord fascinating.

The dominant Mute Swan on the nesting island glared at a Cormorant that had the cheek to perch in his territory.

A preening swan on the edge of the Serpentine was fluffed up by a gust of wind.

Most of the bees visible at the moment are Hairy-Footed Flower Bees, of which there are a great many this year, and Buff-Tailed Bumblebees. But there was a Honeybee on a hyacinth in the Rose Garden.

Walking along the South Bank of the Thames from the Millennium Bridge (the famously wobbly footbridge opposite St Paul's) to Westminster Bridge, I was surprised to find three sets of steps that allow you to get down to the water at low tide. There wasn't anything spectacular to see, just Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-Backs, but it was pleasing to have a bit of contact with London's river.

And of course there were the inevitable Feral Pigeons.

A pleasing wall painting of a morning view westwards up the river, showing the Shard on the left and the Walkie-Talkie on the right. The apparent recess in the brickwork that frames the painting is actually painted on to the flat wall.


  1. Is our old friend Head-Banger still honouring its name? I hope the rest of crows don't care to imitate that particular trick of his.

    That cormorant is oblivious to its impending mortal peril.

    1. Headbanger is on the shore of the Serpentine, separate from the Kensington Gardens mob. I have been trying to train him to behave by giving him a peanut when he doesn't bash me and reproving him when he does, but have only had limited success. Also, he has taken to bashing total strangers. Crows' sense of humour is basic.