Thursday 3 November 2022

A soggy day

Morning rain kept people out of the park, and it was very quiet. A Robin in the Rose Garden felt no need to sing loudly ...

... at its rival a few yards away in another rose bush.

Two more Robins were singing in the Flower Walk ...

... and I was greeted by the usual Chaffinch ...

... and two Coal Tits.

A Great Tit came out on a pyracantha bush by the bridge.

There were no diners on the restaurant terraces in the drizzle, so the Starlings had to fend for themselves instead of raiding tables. There were some on the urns in the Italian Garden.

A Carrion Crow in the Rose Garden had a lot of white feathers in its wings. This problem seems to affect young crows in particular when they are growing their first set of flight feathers, and I assume it is due to an urban scavenger's diet of junk food lacking protein, so that it can't make enough melanin pigment to keep up with its rapid growth. Elderly crows may fade, but in that case they go grey rather than patchy white. This crow is fully adult in appearance and it's impossible to guess its age.

There was a pretty multicoloured Feral Pigeon next to it. Presumably the extraordinary variety of colour in the urban population is due to fancy breeds getting out and interbreeding with the normal grey ones.

There are now several couples of Black-Headed Gulls around the Serpentine performing the pair display, which they seem to do outside the breeding season just when they feel like it. I can't resist filming it.

Nine Great Crested Grebes sat in a loose group on the Serpentine. I managed to get seven into this very dull picture.

Now that the Mute Swan pair have left the Italian Garden, the Egyptian Goose pair can come back without being bullied. They spent the intervening time at the top end of the Long Water.

A female Egyptian called loudly from a sawn-off tree, becoming frantic when another pair flew over. They displaced her and started making a racket themselves.

Dismal weather didn't deter Common Wasps on the flowering fatsia bush next to the bridge.

The Serpentine Gallery is covered with scaffolding for some much needed repairs to its upper woodwork. The cupola was literally falling to pieces.

When I came to the park as a boy, this building had a much less fancy and more practical use as a café. It was called the Cake House.


  1. The park certainly got a bad deal, exchanging Cake House for the gallery.

    A Robin I heard today from my office was going nuts. It was singing as if its life depended on shouting everyone else down. What's weird though is that it was relatively quiet all around.

    1. Robins live in an almost perpetual fury. But what a wonderful way to relieve their feelings.

  2. The video clip of the robin singing quietly is lovely and of wonderful quality. Congrats on getting that quality on what seems a pretty dark day, at least by California standards.

    1. It's useful having a bridge camera that will do f2.4. I don't know why everyone with a long lens doesn't carry one for other kinds of shot.

  3. Wow, those Egyptians... Great video

    1. There are yelling Egyptians all over the place now.