Tuesday 31 October 2023

Eating at the restaurant

A noisy crowd of Starlings had descended on the Lido restaurant terrace to scavenge scraps.

The young Grey Heron was also here, and someone had given it a chip.

There are several Cetti's Warblers around the lake, hard to tell how many because they move around. I saw one yesterday near the Italian Garden, but as usual only for a moment and I didn't get a photograph. Ahmet Amerikali did better, getting a clear shot of one in the reed bed at the end of the Serpentine.

He also captured a Goldcrest unusually out in the open on a bramble near the bridge.

Jackdaws were waiting to be fed on the railings of the Diana fountain. They are constantly having to compete for food with Carrion Crows which bully them, and both these very intelligent birds are devising new tricks to outwit each other.

The Little Owl at the Round Pond was on her usual branch. It seems odd that she prefers the slanted branches of this fork when it would be more comfortable to perch on a horizontal branch, but this place gives her a good view.

The odd couple of a Herring Gull and a Lesser Black-Backed Gull called quietly to each other on the edge of the Serpentine.

The Lesser Black-Back has very bright yellow legs and is easily mistaken for the pigeon eater. The latter had finished his lunch and flown off, and a young Herring Gull was pecking at the remains.

Five Cormorants perched on the thin branches of their favourite tree on the island. I still have to see one landing in this difficult spot, and how one already on a branch manages to stay on when the arrival of another heavy bird make the branch thrash around.

The Moorhens in the Dell fed side by side.

Three of the five teenage cygnets of the dominant Mute Swan family preened on the edge of the Long Water.

These are the swans who nested on the Serpentine island. They were preening right next to the nest site of the murderous swan, who would have marmalised them if he had seen. But the family was away on the Long Water, and probably next year will use the artificial nesting island.

We don't know whether the single cygnet from the island survived. It was seen in early September, but then other young swans arrived and we lost track of it.

Two Shoveller drakes and a female cruised along the far side of the Long Water.

Another good picture by Ahmet: an Egyptian Goose enjoying a wash.

Some indulgent person had given a squirrel an expensive Brazil nut. You'd think that it might have had difficulty with the hard thick shell but no, one snap of those powerful jaws and razor teeth and it's through.

An almost spotless Harlequin Ladybird climbed up a notice board. It has the nickname Hallowe'en Bug in America, because this is when it appears in great numbers.

One of the Black Walnut trees next to the Dell was a brilliant yellow.


  1. Two Shoveler drakes now? That is good. Incredible spots form Ahmet! The Cetti's Warbler is notoriously hard to photograph. I also heard the Cetti's Warbler during the weekend but the picture is marvelous!

    1. Probably there are more Shovellers. They lurk under bushes at the edge and you don't see them. I have only ever got one acceptable set of pictures of a Cetti's, when it was so furiously scolding a Magpie that it ignored me and stayed on the same twig, fairly close, for 15 seconds.

    2. What luck! I have seen Cetti's Warblers which would have made incredible photos but never photographed them. I managed to see one coming to drink on the edge of a river I was exploring but I did not have my camera. Another time, I was birdwatching specifically for these elusive birds and so many flew around me but I managed to fail to photograph it.

    3. Cetti's Warblers are very numerous at Rainham Marshes -- once 50 were heard --- but they're still appallingly difficult to photograph as they skulk in the undergrowth.

  2. When I read "a row of Starlings" (I know it's not the fancy collective name) I remembered the translation of a hunting epigram that read "a brace of Starlings". Would using "brace" reveal that the unfortunate birds were dead?
    Let's hope the cygnet got camouflaged among the newcomers. I should imagine most cygnets of that age look pretty much alike.

    1. That's Tinúviel, BTW (wheee, two comments published in a row!)

    2. My deeply traditional father used to refer to two of anything living as a brace: 'They have a brace of brats.'

    3. Yay. Russian software will hammer its way through anything eventually.