Thursday 24 November 2022

The slow spread of Jackdaws

Until recently Jackdaws were seen only occasionally at the east end of Hyde Park, but now they seem to have settled permanently in the Rose Garden. They must be originally from their first home in Kensington Gardens, because they know me and trot up confidently to demand peanuts.

Another three were waiting in a tree.

It's strange how popular the corkscrew hazel bush in the Flower Walk is with all the birds here. Maybe it's because the mass of twisty stems provides good cover, as you can see with this Jay ...

... or that they offer perches of all comfortable sizes and angles for birds as small as this Coal Tit.

A Long-Tailed Tit perched on the red stem of a dogwood bush.

A young Black-Headed Gull on the edge of the Serpentine played with a leaf.

Although the number of Cormorants in the park has fallen considerably as the supply of fish begins to give out, they are still bringing up decent-sized perch from time to time. They just have to work harder to get one.

A Coot on the Serpentine enjoyed a vigorous splash.

The female Mute Swan was alone in one of the pools in the Italian Garden.

After I had taken this photograph and was looking over the parapet there was a beat of mighty wings and she passed low overhead. There was a brisk easterly wind, just enough to allow her to take off from the short length of a fountain pool, which a swan can't do in still air. She flew down to Peter Pan, where there was a group of swans which had finally dared to come under the bridge on to the Long Water, the first I've seen here since the death of the dominant male. Maybe she was looking for her missing mate.

I couldn't see him or the dominant female he has been flirting with. Probably they were on the Serpentine. The nesting island had just a Grey Heron and a couple of Cormorants.

Happier news: the swan 4DTV seems to have recovered completely from the bird flu and was feeding and preening on the grassy bank at the back of the Lido.

Mating is a pretty rough business for a female Mallard. Afterwards she had a wash and a flap to settle herself down.

Although Gadwalls are not permanent residents, they visit from the other parks and (I think) Buckingham Palace Gardens. There are a fair number at the moment on both lakes and the Round Pond. These three were at the Lido ...

... and a pair preened among Black-Headed Gulls on the Round Pond.

A magnolia in the Flower Walk has produced some large red fruit. They are a very ancient tree, with the still extant species M. acuminata, the 'cucumber tree', first appearing 20 million years ago and ancestral types going right back to 95 million years ago in the age of the dinosaurs.


  1. The powerful rhythmic beat of a mute swan's wings in flight was one of the possible (although wrong) explanations for the notion of the swan's song. I have never heard that sound myself in the flesh, as it were - but judging from youtube videos it must make an impressive spectacle.

  2. The sound does at least seem to be a means of communication, if only a simple one to keep a flock together in the air.