Sunday 29 October 2023

A dreich day

It drizzled constantly for most of the day, interspersed with heavier rain. You'd have expected the Little Owl at the Round Pond to be sheltering in her hole but no, she was out on the horse chestnut tree, partly sheltered by an overhanging branch. She looked sombre.

A Pied Wagtail ran around unconcernedly on the wet grass below ...

... but a Robin stayed in the dense cover of a lime tree.

A Blue Tit searched for insects in an oak.

A Magpie looked miserable as the rain intensified ...

... but a Jackdaw was easily cheered with a peanut.

A Grey Heron preened. Having slightly damp feathers helps.

Another combined shelter with fishing on the edge of a reed bed.

A pair of Herring Gulls, one of them looking too young to be courting, were making a non-stop racket on the edge of the Serpentine, ignoring other gulls that came by to see what the fuss was about. They were still at it as I walked away.

This post on the north side of the Serpentine is opposite the one owned by the Black-Headed Gull EZ73323. This gull is EZ73301, ringed here slightly earlier. I've reported it to see who is using these rings -- I think not Bill Haines, who has an EA series of rings.

Just when you think the number of Cormorants has peaked, more arrive. The fallen poplar in the Long Water had one on every available branch ...

... and the raft was also crowded with birds vainly trying to dry their wings in the drizzle.

A young Cormorant, still with a white front, preened on a post at Peter Pan.

A young Moorhen in the Italian Garden checked to see if the rain had brought up anything edible in a puddle.

A Shoveller in full breeding plumage on the Serpentine looked very fine in spite of the dim light. In fact they're hard to photograph well in sunlight, as the brilliant white feathers flare.

A patch of Honey Fungus in the shrubbery east of the Lido was pretty but sinister.

I was asked where the Big Bird statue is. You can see it on the right of this picture of the emerging colours around the Diana fountain. The deep red tree is a sweetgum, much planted for its autumn foliage.


  1. It was not great weather today but that did not stop me. It did stop me from cycling though. I saw the Shoveler by the island and a very picturesque Cormorant sitting in the reflection of the tower with the peregrines which flew away while I was there so I was able to see them nicely.

    1. I got very wet on my bike a couple of nights ago wearing dry weather clothes. Not my favourite experience.

    2. God, I hope you didn't catch a cold. It's raining cats and dogs here all weekend and wimpy things that we are we're holed up at home.

    3. Well, if you don't have a car and need to get somewhere at night you don't have an option.

  2. That certainly clears up the mystery re. The big bird to the Diana memorial DRAIN...I seem to remember the opening ceremony.....what an insult to her memory !!........ALOT of cormorants,as you said..regards,Stephen..

    1. Big Bird was called Isis when it was made by Stephen Gudgeon, a name I considered inept since the Egyptian goddess Isis is always shown as wholly human, unlike most of the others with their animal heads. But when the name Isis came to be applied to a group of terrorists the statue was hastily renamed Serenity. Big Bird is easier.

    2. Like the covert security feature in 12-sided pound coins which was initially called iSIS (sic), short for Integrated Secure Identification Systems, the name abandoned to avoid the irony even before the coins entered circulation in April 2016. There is still Isis Prison, opened in 2010 on the site of Woolwich Arsenal. Jim

    3. And the Isis river, which is what the young Thames is called as it flows through Oxford. Well, any combination of four letters is likely to have echoes.

  3. The endurance of that calling gull is admirable, and the racket prodigious. No wonder other gulls came in to check who was the proud owner of such a prodigious set of lungs (or air sacs of what have you).

    1. I suppose the syrinxes of birds must get tired eventually, but they are far more efficient than our vocal cords and don't get hoarse.