Tuesday 10 October 2023

Unsteady Cormorant

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull is still being pursued by his whining offspring. He is clearly exasperated but hasn't yet got to the stage of chasing the young bird away.

A Cormorant at the island struggled for balance on a chain before climbing on to a stable post.

Another on a post near the bridge was backlit by the low sunlight.

The Grey Heron was on the raft on the Long Water again. It seems to be at peace with the Cormorants. They have completely different fishing methods, so are not rivals.

The Great Crested Grebes from the nest at the bridge, whose three teenagers are now mostly fishing for themselves, had a moment to relax and display, congratulating each other on a long job well done.

But the younger chick at the island is still demanding to be fed every few minutes.

Greylag Geese ate sweet chestnuts under the trees beside Rotten Row. They can crunch up a nut with their powerful beaks.

The Mute Swan family preened on the gravel strip on the Long Water. Now that they own the whole lake there is not much for them to do. Alexander the Great wept when he had invaded distant Afghanistan because there were no more lands left to conquer, but at least the male swan can amuse himself by beating up the remaining swans on the Serpentine.

The female Little Owl at the Round Pond was enjoying the sunshine in her usual horse chestnut tree.

The female Peregrine almost always stays on the shaded side of the tower. Perhaps direct sunlight hurts her super-sharp eyes.

A Carrion Crow perched on the statue of Jenner in the Italian Garden.

A Feral Pigeon seen at the Triangle car park had the standard wild Rock Dove markings with two wing bars, but was dark brown instead of grey. Among all their varieties of colour and pattern this is quite a rare one.

There were flocks of Long-Tailed Tits in several places, but I didn't get a picture of one till I was going home down the Flower Walk.

The aggressive Robin was waiting to eat several pine nuts before he went back to his usual amusement of chasing the tits.

The horse-drawn mowing machine was out on Buck Hill, giving a bunch of bankers a few hours of hard work as they raked up the cut grass. They must have been quite glad to get back to their desks -- perhaps that's the point of these days out. The mower's cutter bar is made to oscillate by a crank driven by the wheels. I think this ancient machine had iron wheels when it was made, but has now been fitted with pneumatic tyres.

The clumps of pink stonecrop in the Rose Garden were once crowded with Honeybees, but today there was only one as the other bees were concentrating on the more abundant pollen of the oxeye daisies.

There are some strange plants in the Dell, left over from the adventurous planting schemes of earlier years. This shrub is a Chinese Rice Paper Plant, Tetrapanax papyrifer. Edible 'rice paper' is made from the inner pith of the stems. It looks as if the one on the left has male catkins and the right one female flowers, but I can't find anything about the species being dioecious -- having separate male and female forms.

The park's policy now is to stick to native plants, safe but dull. Certainly there have been some disastrous introductions in the past, such as Japanese Knotweed.


  1. The Greylag Geese have all day to rob me of my chestnuts. Luckily, I have a vast store of them ready to be eaten now. I am still determined to get more however.

    1. There are plenty under the young chestnut trees along the west end of Rotten Row.

    2. Not enough for the geese though

  2. One of the things that stands out for me with Pigeons is their wonderful variations on colour. Been a while since I’ve seen a Shire Horse. Beautiful animals.
    Sean 😃

  3. Now I wonder just how many offspring Pigeon Eater has had. He must be about 13 or thereabouts, right? And I think he's bringing up a chick per year or so. Has he always been with the same mate all these years?

    Very glad to see that at least the older Grebe chicks are beginning to fend for themselves.

    Those are truly handsome horses. Strong, robust, tall, and really harmonius.

    1. It's hard to discover Pigeon Eater's family life, or even where he nests: I suspect the restaurant roof but the place is invisible from the ground. I think he's had the same mate for years, but she is less distinctive than him, with paler yellow legs and without the ring of black dots on the iris of the eye that makes him unmistakable. Yes, they do seem to have an offspring -- just one, which is surprising -- every year.

      There is a festival of -- um, what do you call it? ornamental amateur farming -- in the park every year, and the shire horses are brought along. The chief impressions when you are close to them are how absolutely enormous they are, and how gentle.

  4. Tetrapanax papyrifer is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by bees

    1. Thanks. I wonder, though, why the two trees look so different. Are they in different stages of fruiting?