Wednesday 13 September 2023

Return of the speckled goose

You'll be glad to hear that the Canada Goose with the speckled head is back on the Serpentine. It turned out that the trouble was a small lead fishing weight that had somehow got stuck up his nostril.

Three Red Crested Pochard drakes in eclipse cruised by the island.

At the east end of the island a Great Crested Grebe fed a feather to her single chick, the youngest on the lake.

A chick near Peter Pan sprinted to grab a fish.

One of the Moorhen chicks in the Italian Garden was in an old Coot nest in one of the planters.

In the next pool a Grey Heron was on the lookout for fish.

The heron at the Henry Moore sculpture is old and frail, but he still looks after his appearance.

At the bridge a Cormorant flapped frantically on a post. Nothing was wrong, it was just drying its wings.

The female Little Owl at the Serpentine Gallery was in the lime tree, only just visible through the leaves.

A Wren chittered in the bushes beside the Long Water.

A Jay looked round a branch in the Flower Walk.

Hawthorns are an easy feeding place for Wood Pigeons, which can reach the berries without having to stretch and possibly fall out of the tree.

A squirrel was having a very long reach for an acorn. But their grip is much stronger than that of pigeons and you hardly ever see one lose its footing.

Ahmet Amerikali found a Chiffchaff near the bridge.

It's hard to compare pictures taken in different lights, but this young Willow Warbler photographed by Mark Williams at the Welsh Harp reservoir is noticeably yellower and has pale pinkish brown feet, while Chiffchaffs' feet are dark brown.

Two more pictures by Mark: a young Pied Wagtail, also at the Welsh Harp ...

... and a beautiful shot of a young Blackbird in St James's Park.


  1. Am delighted to report that, in addition to the three juvenile blackbirds at St James Park, we have three more in Victoria Gardens, adjacent to London's largest open prison oops I mean the Houses of Parliament 😮 😉

    1. Good news. It's been a good year for Blackbirds, and a much needed one.

      I went over London Bridge today. There is a sculpture at the south end, a large stone spike. A tourist guide was explaining how it commemorated the spikes on the old bridge on which the heads of traitors were stuck. I had a vision of 650 spikes stretching across the new bridge, 325 to a side, and guess whose heads were on them.

    2. Give me time - I am on the verge of figuring this out ;)

  2. Cormorants are known for flapping their wings ferociously to dry off :)

  3. No wonder old heron is preening, he had a couple of large chicken chunks from me this morning and so did the other old heron that sits down on the cages. They are both very senior birds, so no fight broke out. Jenna

  4. Great news about the goose! Now let's hope it will keep itself out of further trouble.
    How much of an age difference is there between the youngest and the oldest grebe chicks, I wonder?
    That cormorant looks like a venerably old aircraft firing up its propellers.

    1. I think the age difference is about six weeks, but I haven't been keeping an exact count and the youngest chick was not brand new when first seen. It's from a hidden nest.

      I well remember the exciting roar of Pratt and Whitney radial engines being revved up to the maximum before takeoff, and the sudden lurch as the brakes were released. What fun flying was then.