Monday 2 January 2023

Great Black-Backed Gull

A Blue Tit looked for insect larvae in the bark of a twig.

The Grey Heron pair have resumed their on-and-off nesting. One was up on the nest, none too visible through the twigs, while the other stalked along the wire baskets around the island.

Duncan Campbell found a Great Black-Backed Gull on a post at Peter Pan. These vast creatures, which may have a wingspan of 5 ft 6 in, are infrequent visitors to the park and I haven't seen one for over a year. Note its extremely heavy bill and pinkish-grey legs.

He thoughtfully added a picture of a Lesser Black-Back in the same place. The two pictures are roughly to scale: note the width of the wooden post.

A Moorhen wandered through the grass on the edge of the Long Water.

A younger one had found some yellow roses someone had thrown into the lake and was prodding them to see if they contained anything edible.

The Little Grebe was in its usual pool ...

... where it had been rejoined by the Gadwalls and by the new pair of Mute Swans.

In one of the other pools, Ahmet Amerikali photographed a Cormorant which had caught a large fish which had survived the Cormorants' intensive fishing in the autumn and probably thought it was safe now.

With the dominant Mute Swans in the Italian Garden, some other swans had taken the opportunity to come on to the Long Water and a pair were courting at the Vista. They will soon be chased away.

The Black Swan mooched around in evening light on the Round Pond.

Another fine picture by Duncan of two Canada Geese taking off from the Long Water.

There were a lot of Egyptian Geese at the east end of the Serpentine, taking advantage of the visitors to the Wasteland. Numbers on the lake are quite variable so they must fly in and out, but you seldom see them flying. Probably they move at night.

Ahmet got a dramatic shot of a Gadwall in flight.

Incautious visitors regretted walking under this tree.

The Albert Memorial seen through trees at sunset. The ornamental figures progress upwards in order of rank, and the top three layers are virtues, angels and archangels.


  1. I was at the Round Pond today and, as well as the Black Swan, I was pleased to see how many Common Gulls were present. I counted at least 40 but I’m sure there were more

  2. That's good. There were unusually few Common Gulls in the autumn. In most years the number goes up to about 50. They come late and go early.

  3. I repeat myself, but it's such a gorgeous monument at sunset. It looks like something out of a fairytale.
    Good comparison of that most beastly or beasts, the GBB, side by side with the punier LBB.

    1. I have grown up alongside the Albert Memorial, but its combination of magnificence and silliness still astounds me. I wonder what Albert would have thought of it. He, after all, supervised the design of the Italian Garden which could hardly be more different.

  4. Good to see the Great Black-back. Looks to be almost adult due to the bill markings. I was surprised to see one flying over Warren Farm, one of my local patches, yesterday. I only normally encounter them when I'm doing my Thames WeBS counts.

    Always good to see the Gadwall.

    1. Great Black-Backs are getting less frequent in the park. I suppose it's because of the growing number of riverside wildlife reserves which they can terrorise at their leisure.