Wednesday 1 March 2023

Grey Heron sees off a rival

A Starling and a Redwing searched for worms on the Parade Ground. There was also a Goldfinch, a bird you don't usually see on the ground, but evidently the insects here are worth the visit.

Pied Wagtails don't seem to like the Parade Ground this year, though you used to see them often previously. A pair were hunting in Rotten Row.

There were more Redwings near the Round Pond ...

... where the female Little Owl was staying in her hole. Neil told me that she had been driven in from the horse chestnut tree by an incautious photographer who rushed towards her for a closer shot. You have to mind your manners with owls.

I'm trying to win the trust of this Blackbird in the Rose Garden with raisins, but he's still nervous.

There's no such trouble with the Jackdaws now, who are confident that they will be given peanuts. This one was on an oak in the leaf yard.

The dominant Robin in the Flower Walk had cleared out all the small birds from his territory. I haven't seen him with a mate.

The one farther up the path in the corkscrew hazel is much less aggressive and does have a mate.

This is one of the pair of Long-Tailed Tits nesting in the bushes at the bridge.

A Black-Headed Gull had a good rinse in the Serpentine.

A Grey Heron parent on the island was in a militant mood, chasing a rival out of the trees ...

... and round the lake ...

... before returning to look after the two chicks in the nest.

The Little Grebe in the Italian Garden was diving under the fountain.

A Moorhen poked the edge of the bowl of the big marble fountain at the edge of the garden.

The male Mute Swan of the dominant pair was by himself. This isn't the first time that his mate has gone off on her own. She's used to being the boss and likes to assert her independence.

An Egyptian Goose perched in one of the sweet chestnut trees near the Serpentine Gallery where a pair of Little Owls nested last year. There is a large hole in the trunk which looks an attractive nest site. It wouldn't put the owls off having an Egyptian lower down in their tree -- indeed it might be a useful warning system like the sacred geese on the Capitol which saved Rome from the barbarians. I've seen the two sharing a tree in past years.


  1. The barbarians being Squirrels or Parakeets ? Or marauding egg-eaters?

    1. Squirrels would be a most unwelcome surprise, as they eat fledglings. I think a Little Owl could deal with a squirrel if warned.

    2. Bloodily so, I hope.

    3. My father told me as a child: They all just want to live.

    4. Owls have strong legs and terrible claws. An intruding squirrel would be slashed across the face.

  2. I wouldn't put it past Athene's bird to have forethought enough to use Egyptians as an early warning system either!
    Now I'm wondering if, provided both Robins were side by side and away from their usual haunts, would you be able to tell them apart by behaviour and temperament?

    1. I think the dominant Robin would immediately savage the other one. But Robins are so fierce towards every creature, except their mates during the breeding season, that the outcome of the resulting fight would by no means be certain.