Thursday 15 December 2022

Skylark and Reed Bunting

There was another hard frost in the night and the Serpentine is frozen for the first time this winter. Black-Headed Gulls wandered about on the ice.

The gull who owns the landing stage at the Diana fountain surveyed his territory from the top of the Big Bird statue, ready to fly down and attack any intruder.

Mute Swans broke a path through the ice to find a clear passage made by a powerboat.

An air bubbler has made a circle of open water, where Pochards and Tufted Ducks gathered.

A Grey Wagtail hunted along the icy edge.

The Grey Herons are having a thin time with few places left for fishing, but they can supplement their diet with mice and rats.

One of the Little Grebes has moved into a fountain pool in the Italian Garden ...

... where it was busily diving.

We couldn't find the other Little Grebe on the Serpentine. It may have been in clear water under the bushes on the island.

A pair of Gadwalls were feeding in a pool.

The unfaithful swan and his new mate were sitting together on the pavement, ignoring passers by.

Later the male got up to harass his unfortunate ex-mate. She can't leave because of the ice on the Long Water and is having a miserable time.

Ahmet Amerikali made two remarkable finds: a Skylark on Buck Hill just the other side of the path from the Henry Moore sculpture ...

... and the male Reed Bunting at the Lido, where it must have been unnoticed for months. It was first spotted in February and occasionally seen till June.

He also got a good shot of a Goldcrest hanging from a twig near the bridge.

The male Little Owl near the Speke obelisk was out in the nest tree.

The regulars in the Flower Walk were eager to be fed: a Coal Tit in a small bush ...

... and a Chaffinch ...

... and a Jay in the corkscrew hazel.


  1. Amazing shots of the Little Grebe. I am always amazed by how long they stay put so that you can take a picture or a video! It's almost as if they were aware of your fondness for them.

    It must be freezing cold and very uncomfortable to take the pictures, though. Your poor hands.

    1. You should have seen the twenty shots where the Little Grebe didn't stay put. The video camera doesn't lie, but its user can select.

      I have a pair of massive ski gloves which I remove as briefly as possible to take pictures. They are on strings like toddler's gloves so I can rip off the right one in an instant and just let it dangle.

  2. Skylark must be an unusual bird for the park, but earlier in the week I found 10 at Minet CP for the first time ( though birds do breed in the borough)-all hard weather movements.

    My big surprise was a Golden Plover fly up as I walked past one of the artificial hills at Northala, Northolt. The Snipe & flyover Lapwing were more expected.
    The thaw should be with us in a couple of days!

    1. I've never seen a Skylark in the park myself, or heard of a sighting, till now. But it is on the all-time species list. Displaced by snow, no doubt.