Friday 8 April 2022

The pigeon-eating gull is interrupted

A Blackcap sang in one of the Italian Alder trees on Buck Hill. Going over, I found that the tree was full of small birds, including a Dunnock ...

... and a pair of nesting Long-Tailed Tits ...

... as well as the Blackcap himself.

His song was answered by two more Blackcaps on the edge of the Long Water, one in a hawthorn ...

... and the other in a holly.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker preened in a tree on Buck Hill and flew away.

A pair of Carrion Crows nattered quietly to each other on a branch.

The Tawny Owl looked down calmly from his tree at several people who had come to admire him.

The scene was much less calm at the Dell restaurant, where the notorious Lesser Black-Backed Gull caught a Feral Pigeon ...

... and carried it into the water to finish it off.

The struggle attracted the attention of a Coot, which rushed to join the fight ...

... driving off the gull from his prey for a moment ...

... but the pigeon was already dead and the gull returned to start eating it.

The Coots got on with their own fights.

The two Great Crested Grebes on the nest under the willow at the bridge displayed to each other. I think they're both female, which would explain their failure to lay eggs.

The female Mute Swan nesting at the east end of the Lido pulled dead leaves over her eggs to hide them before going off to feed. I saw two eggs there the day before yesterday, but there are probably more now.

I was baffled by this splendidly coloured bee, but Conehead 54 has come to the rescue: 'Female Tawny Mining Bee, Andrena fulva -- one of the solitary species which nest in the ground, Their nests in sometimes patchy grass have little hills of soil above them.'

Snakeshead Fritillary flowers are coming out in the woodland north of the Henry Moore sculpture. They look more like Tiffany lampshades than snakes' heads.


  1. I'm astounded by the Coot's action. Willingly separating Pigeon Killer from its lunch just for the sake of a fight is really, really something else. It's as if mere sight of a fight will drive Coots berserk, even if it's other species that are concerned.

    1. Yes, I think that the sight of any fight, whatever the species, really does drive Coots berserk.

  2. Lovely shots of the Blackcaps & Tawny Owl again

    The gull's pigeon meal looks to be a fairly recently fledged Feral Pigeon-perhaps a little less wary?

    Stunning bee- it's a female Tawny Mining Bee, Andrena fulva-one of the solitary species which nest in the ground, Their nests in sometimes patchy grass have little hills of soil above them.

    1. Many thanks for the identification of the bee. I had bever even heard of this species.

      The gull got this pigeon by rushing into the thick of a mob, not his usual method.

    2. Interesting observation. He used to be confused by pigeons massing together - I've seen him standing next to a feeding frenzy where it would be easy to take one but he couldn't differentiate them; they had to be clearly distinct individuals for him to attack. This does not bode well for the Dell restaurant pigeons attracted by the tourists' feed.

    3. He's had this technique for a while, but only the occasional chance to use it. It depends on the pigeon mob on the shore being crowded under the projecting ledge of the Dell restaurant balcony, so that they can't take off. Then a determined charge is likely to secure a victim.

  3. what a change to see a dunnock in full light? quite exquisitely marked after all. Mark W2.

  4. Ralph, you may well have described it in the past, if so, sorry, but can you direct me to the tawny's tree?

    1. Not on this blog. Too many people there already. Write to me privately.