Wednesday 18 January 2023

Freezing again

A second cold night partially froze the Long Water. Black-Headed Gulls, and one Common Gull and one Lesser Black-Back, loafed on the ice.

A Coot picked its way carefully, sliding a bit, and pecked at a bit of bread frozen into the ice.

There was still enough clear water for the dominant Mute Swans to fly up to the Italian Garden if they want, but tonight there will be another frost and the lake will be solid.

After a while they got out of the water. Maybe their feet were cold, though waterfowl usually seem not to mind.

Ahmet Amerikali got a remarkable picture of a female Mallard which had caught a fish and was flying off to find a quiet place to eat it.

He also found a Great Crested Grebe on the Serpentine which had caught a perch.

In the Italian Garden the Little Grebe lurked in the irises ...

... while its new friends the Gadwalls waited patiently nearby for it to come out to play.

The Round Pond hadn't frozen, as it was ruffled by the wind. A crowd of Mute Swans hoped someone would feed them as the sun set.

The Black Swan had gone off by himself for a preen. He shooed a Gadwall.

Queen Victoria contemplated her back-to-front thumb without amusement.

Shachar Hizkiya photographed a Pied Wagtail hunting along the edge ...

... but, much more remarkably, he found a Firecrest in Greenwich Park. He's only here for a week so it's quite a coup.

Joan Chatterley photographed a pair of Mandarins in Battersea Park, a much better place for them than here as there are fewer big gulls.

You only have to stand in front of this bush in the Flower Walk for a few seconds and it fills with hungry Great, Blue and Coal Tits.

Several Jays pursued me along the path.


  1. That’s an interesting mallard picture. I didn’t know that they ate fish

    1. I think they eat just about anything. But for a Mallard, catching fish is another matter.

  2. They must all be ravenous. I don't know over there (I imagine pretty much like here, only more severe), but the Siberian Express has finally arrived here almost one month later and dropped temps almost below zero.
    Was that fish already dead? I shudder to think she may have managed to catch it.

    1. Ahmet says she did catch it. So prepare for the Attack of the Flesh-Eating Ducks.

    2. That's be a catchy title for a good old fashioned horror flick!

    3. Remember the very early fossil of a giant duck found in Australia? It was nicknamed The Demon Duck of Terror if I remember rightly.

    4. But are we shocked by sawbill ducks, that eat fish? A bigger horror was the Mallards recorded preying on passerines a few years ago. I dared not view the pictures for ages. Jim

    5. Although technically the Merganser and Goosander are ducks, they don't look ducky in the least. They are what they are and look rakish and ruthless.

  3. Interesting to see the Mallard with the fish. Though they will eat almost anything edible I've never really seen them fish. I wonder whether it caught it live or found it moribund?

    Some great luck for our friend with the Firecrest!

    1. A good explanation for the Mallard's fish.

      I've only seen a Firecrest in the park twice in a lifetime of visiting.