Tuesday 27 December 2022

A few Redwings

There were a few Redwings on Buck Hill near the Magazine, though they stayed in the tops of the horse chestnut trees and I couldn't get a good picture.

Long-Tailed Tits bustled around lower in the same tree.

A Song Thrush was singing in the big yew hedge that runs along the edge of Zaha Hadid's fungoid restaurant, but it was deep inside and there was no chance of a picture.

A Wren singing in the Flower Walk was much more obliging about being photographed.

But the Little Owl at the Round Pond was still sulking at the back of his hole, in spite of the mild sunny morning.

If he had come out he would have been disgusted to see a pair of Rose-Ringed Parakeets canoodling on the tree just round the corner from his hole.

A Jay stared intently from a nearby tree. But it's impossible to take their expressions seriously when they are looking at you over a comical Kathakali dancer's painted-on moustache.

A Grey Wagtail picked up a tiny larva on the shore near the Lido.

In the Diana fountain, which is still closed because of an 'Unpredicted Issue', a Herring Gull dancing busily to bring up worms was driven away by a disrespectful younger one, which then looked for any worms the adult had raised.

This is not the usual Black-Headed Gull EZ73323 who always sits on the same No Swimming notice. It's the next notice to the east, and the gull is a Czech one, ET05.589. It's been seen in the park before, and was here last winter. It has two perfectly good legs but had folded one up -- if it hadn't accidentally been ringed on the wrong leg I wouldn't have noticed it.

There are now two pairs of Grey Herons on the island, though at  present only one pair are making a nest, plus this one which was fishing in the Dell.

The Little Grebe in the Italian Garden pool was lurking in the irises. If I hadn't known that it liked this place I wouldn't have seen it.

A few minutes later it came out. It's now constantly hanging around the pair of Gadwalls. Originally I thought it was for cover, to protect against raiding gulls. But there were no gulls around when this was shot. So maybe the turbulence caused by the dabbling ducks is bringing up little water creatures that the grebe can catch.

The new pair of Mute Swans had come down on to the Long Water. The male, on the right here, had noticed an intruding pair farther down the lake and was about to go off to deal with them -- as he must to retain credibility with his fierce new mate, who does her own chasing.

The intruders were at the end of the gravel strip, along with a pair of Shovellers that I think are the only ones left in the park. It's odd that a group turned up in the autumn and looked as if they were going to spend the winter on the lake, but then went somewhere else. They left well before the icy spell.

Female Tufted Ducks don't have the jazzy black and white plumage of the drakes, but they have a quiet elegance.

By the time I got to the Rose Garden the sun had gone in and rain was on the way, but that didn't deter the hardy Buff-Tailed Bumblebees on the mahonia bushes. They can warm themselves up by the effort of flying and their furry bodies retain heat quite well, so they can stand lower temperatures than smaller insects.

A good way of cheering up a dank December day.


  1. The youngster from the Round Pond appears to be much shyer than other Little Owls. I wonder if it is a question of temperament, youth, or maybe worse cold tolerance.
    Where do those Bumblebees sleep now to shelter from the cold? I was under the impression that only queens hibernated.

    1. No, the Round Pond owl is usually calm about photographers. It's young and has been photographed constantly since it emerged. It just doesn't want to come out in the cold.

      Buff-Tailed Bumblebees have underground nests. In sheltered places with year-round flowers some other than the new queens can make it through the winter.

  2. The RSS feed has stopped working, starting from this date. I hope you are able to fix it soon.

    1. It's been withdrawn by Blogger. I've put a new subscription system on the blog page. Just give it your email address.

    2. What a shame, I've really enjoyed reading this blog for the last several years.

    3. All you have to do is subscribe again. See the top right of the web version of this page.

  3. All I could find at the top right of the web version was an option for email subscription.

    I did eventually manage to get an RSS URL indirectly via follow.it, although the feed is manipulated by that provider, making it a little less useful than the previous feed had been.

    1. Thanks. I'd like to know how you did that, so I could put instructions on the blog.

  4. The method itself was somewhat haphazard, but the upshot was the URL https://follow.it/kensington-gardens-and-hyde-park-birds