Monday 28 November 2022

A lack of thrushes

A young male Blackbird from the Dell came out to look for worms. There has been a family nesting in the Dell for several years, and they have become quite calm about the crowds of people on the path only a few feet away. This one will take thrown raisins, and accepted several as a modelling fee.

There are a few migrant Blackbirds here now, many of which are young as can be seen from the dark beaks of the males. But it has been a very poor year for migrant thrushes generally, at least so far -- we shall probably get the usual flocks of Redwings when the Winter Wasteland is finally dismantled in January. This Mistle Thrush in a sweet chestnut near the Speke obelisk is certainly a resident.

A pair of Stock Doves perched on a dead tree nearby.

This is the tatty Blue Tit in the Flower Walk whose peculiar genetics I mentioned yesterday. Today she was looking a bit smarter than recently, having grown back some worn-off feathers on her head.

The usual Coal Tit was on a dead stem on the other side of the path ...

... and a Jay waited in a magnolia tree.

The male Chaffinch at the back of the Albert Memorial came down on to the path, hoping for a pine nut which of course I provided.

There are usually some Long-Tailed Tits near the Italian Garden as there are plenty of hawthorn trees, which they particularly favour presumably because there are a lot of insects in them.

The Robin in the Rose Garden was having to sing at the top of its voice to be heard over the dreadful Christmas songs coming from the skating rink in the wasteland.

The female Peregrine was on the tower.

A Grey Heron watched patiently for a fish at the Vista. The Cormorants have had most of them by now.

Black-Headed Gulls milled around the Dell restaurant.

The pair of Herring Gulls on the south side of the Serpentine were having a quiet moment.

The urns in the Italian Garden are full of rainwater, as their drain holes got blocked years ago. They are convenient places for Egyptian Geese to moisten their feathers to help with preening.

Glancing sunlight reveals Egyptians' iridescent green secondaries, a duck-type feature in these birds that are intermediate between geese and ducks. A goose feature is that the sexes look the same.


  1. I always thought Egyptians must be very confused birds. They don't know if they are geese or ducks.

    It's a good thing that Blackbirds are modest birds that will not ask for outrageous modelling fees like Linda Evangelistat, who wouldn't get out of bed for less than 10,000 dollars.

    1. Egyptians also don't know where they are. Coming from Africa they found the northern seasons a surprise and tended to breed at any time, even the dead of winter. It's only after several decades that they are gradually getting the hang of the system.

      Perhaps if someone paid me $10,000 I would be a bit better at getting up in the morning.

  2. It's interesting what a difference a few miles makes. I envy your daily sightings of Chaffinches which are far & few here yet in the outer areas good numbers of Redwing- I had at least 40 yesterday at one of my local sites yesterday with 3 Fieldfares.

    Saturday I was leading a walk to Richmond Park & at least 30 Redwing there & last week over 50 in Kew Gardens.

    Lovely shot of the Stock Dove pair. Yesterday saw a flock of c70 of them in rough pasture at Osterley Park.

    1. Redwings don't feel safe in the park with people and dogs running around on the grass. As soon as an area is fenced off after the Wasteland is dismantled, plenty of them come in.