Friday 27 January 2023

Redwings arrive on the Parade Ground

The Redwings have now arrived to dig up worms on the grass ruined by the Wasteland, as they do every year. Most of the grass dies, but the worms survive and are easier to find on bare ground. The newly arrived birds are very shy and keep their distance, but in a week or two they will be more approachable.

A visit to the blossoming bushes in the Flower Walk found the tatty Blue Tit in the wintersweet ...

... and the male Chaffinch in the paperbush. The flowers are still in bud but will be yellow when they come out.

None of the Coal Tits would stay still for long enough to photograph here, but I got one in the corkscrew hazel.

A flock of Long-Tailed Tits worked its way along the Rose Garden.

The Robin at the Henry Moore sculpture is now coming to my hand. It collected six pine nuts.

A Carrion Crow took advantage of floods on the Vista to have a bathe.

The Diana fountain has now recovered from the mysterious Unpredicted Issue and the water is running again. A crow came to drink, scooping up a beakful of water and throwing its head back to swallow it. All drinking birds have to do this except pigeons, which seem to be able to do something clever with their tongues that allows them to suck up water from the surface.

A Feral Pigeon at the Lido restaurant was enthusiastically slurping up mayonnaise from a pot of coleslaw.

The Black-Headed Gull EZ73323 was at his usual post.

The Little Grebe in the Italian Garden, deserted by the Gadwall pair with which it used to feed, is now accompanying a group of three Tufted Ducks. They are getting on better than they did yesterday, when the ducks were puzzled by the tiny newcomer. The grebe can't work as closely with them as it did with the Gadwalls, as they are all diving birds and need a certain amount of space to avoid collisions.

They are having a hard time from the Black-Headed Gulls trying to grab whatever they catch.

The dominant Mute Swans, having completed a clearout of the Long Water, came over to the Vista to tout for food.

But when I got round to the other side of the lake, some swans were already trying to sneak under the bridge. Maintaining a territory is a full-time job.

In the Rose Garden, a rash daffodil had come out too early.

There are still some flowers on one of the mahonia bushes, and a Buff-Tailed Bumblebee was making the most of them.


  1. It's a Sisyphean task, made all the harder for the natural pig-headdedness of swans.
    EZ73323 looks almost gleeful, ready to flout authority like that.
    Glad to see the Tufties are finally accepting the Little Grebe. Baby steps.

    1. Both EZ73323 and the gull on the landing stage are hilarious to watch when another gull intrudes on their territory. Very hard to film, though, as the way they hurl themselves around defeats autofocus.

      I had expected the Little Grebe to leave after being deserted by the Gadwalls, and was delighted to see it still hanging on and trying to make new friends. But I'm sure that one night it will decide to fly quietly back to wherever it came from.

  2. Earlier in the winter we had good numbers of Redwings, but now far fewer. They seemed to have finished most of the haws. Quite a few I've seen over the last week or so have been feeding on Ivy fruits. Being nomadic I guess they've just moved to more lucrative feeding areas such as where you are.

    1. The Redwings know the schedule here, and turn up within a day of the Parade Ground being cleared. I wonder whether they send out scouts to check.

  3. Great to see the redwings and the ongoing relationships that the grebe is building. There are daffodils out in St Leonards Churchyard in Streatham too