Friday 30 December 2022

Redwing in the grass

The Redwings were still at the top of Buck Hill. Here is a very long shot of one hunting for insects and worms in the grass. You can't get close to these very shy birds in the open. You can hear the other Redwings chattering together in the trees above.

Someone has carefully arranged the bit of sawn-up tree on the hill that from a distance looks like a seated ape to give the best illusion. Although I know perfectly well that it's there it still catches the eye.

At the foot of the hill a Great Spotted Woodpecker looked for insects in the bark on the underside of a branch. This is a male, as you can see from the red patch on the back of his neck.

The Robin here can sometimes be persuaded to come out and take pine nuts from the path, but today it was in a sour mood and stared at me distrustfully from a branch.

The local pair of Egyptian Geese grazed under the Henry Moore sculpture.

The Little Owl at the Round Pond certainly wasn't in residence, as there was a squirrel cheekily looking out of his hole. But there have been squirrels here before and the owl has come back. The whole tree trunk is hollow and there's plenty of room for all.

The female Peregrine was on the barracks tower and I thought she was alone ...

... but then Paul saw something on one of the radio antennas on top of the building, and it was the male with his feathers blowing about in the wind. He didn't stay there long, and came down to the usual ledge with his mate.

A good portrait by Ahmet Amerikali of the regular female Pied Wagtail on the edge of the Serpentine.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull had finished his breakfast and was preening his smart feathers.

The Cormorants that were all over the Long Water yesterday have almost all left.

I think they must have been a roving band which didn't know that their colleagues had hoovered up most of the fish. Having discovered that there wasn't much left, they went off to find somewhere better.

The Little Grebe in the Italian Garden was lurking in its favourite place in the irises.

It came out to dive beside the Gadwalls, several times getting too close and being shooed away. 

It looks as if both the grebe and the ducks are feeding on the same kind of tiny water creatures, and that these are brought up by the ducks dabbling and splashing. You see a similar effect with Shovellers, which rotate in circles so that they constantly pass over the creatures they have stirred up.

A Moorhen foraged among fallen leaves at the edge of the lake.

The new pair of Mute Swans on the Long Water made short work of chasing off half a dozen intruders, and came over to the Vista.

The new male seems to have settled smoothly into his role as co-owner of the Long Water. He was always a bully even when confined to the Italian Garden, and now he has an equally fierce new mate to impress.

I hadn't seen the blond male Egyptian on the Serpentine for some time, but he was cruising along the south side. This is the male who was pushed out of his own family by an intruder a while ago. He was alone.


  1. When I was at Rainham Marshes a few weeks ago, I saw a Little Grebe diving next to a feeding Coot. This went on for some time, even after the Coot was joined by its mate. I thought that the Coots would chase off the Grebe but they seem to take no notice of it at all

    1. Interesting that the aggressive Coots left it alone. Perhaps they had found that it was too fast for them to peck.

    2. Maybe it was mutually beneficial? Or is such tactic thinking well over a Coot's head?
      I wonder why the Robin should have been in a foul mood. I wish we could know what goes through those little heads.

    3. I can't see any benefit a Coot would get from the activity of a much smaller bird. Maybe it was just puzzled by an unfamiliar event and hadn't worked out what to do.

      Even the smallest birds seem to have moods. Their minds may be tiny but after all they are minds.