Sunday 5 November 2023

A new hybrid duck

On a chilly day the small birds were glad to come down for pine nuts. The video from the Flower Walk shows a Blue Tit, several Great Tits, and the belligerent Robin who chases all the other birds.

Long-Tailed Tits passed through the Rose Garden ...

... and a Robin sang in a bush.

A Wren is often seen in this bush in the leaf yard, an unusually visible perch because the scrub in front of it has been cut down.

A Jay yawned as it waited for me to produce a peanut.

The female Little Owl at the Round Pond didn't want to come out in the keen wind.

The female Peregrine, by herself again on the tower, spread her mighty wings.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull hungrily eyed a Feral Pigeon sauntering past. Pigeons can get quite close to him as long as they stay alert, because they can take off faster than he can run at them.

A young Lesser Black-Back played with a leaf.

A Grey Heron stood in a bush beside the Vista.

This is probably a Pochard x Tufted Duck hybrid. We had two several years ago but I haven't seen them for some time, so probably this is a new one. It was at the Lido.

These Canada x Greylag hybrids at the Vista are so alike that they must be siblings. Hybrids come out in all kinds of colours and patterns and it would be most unusual for two unrelated ones to be so similar.

Greylag Geese like apples.

A pair of Egyptians flew past the Mute Swan family at the Triangle car park.

A hardy Buff-Tailed Bumblebee braved the chill and fed on a Baby Sage flower in the Rose Garden.

The arbutus tree in the Rose Garden has produced some pretty fruit. It's also known as the 'strawberry tree'. The fruit looks only slightly like a strawberry but has an insipid strawberry-like flavour. Its botanical name is Arbutus unedo, the second name dubious Latin for 'eat once', since if you eat one you don't particularly want another. People make them into jam, but you can make anything into jam if you use enough sugar.


  1. I have a lot to say today. The hybrid is very interesting and will hope to go and photograph them soon. Certainly not tomorrow. I am sorry about my ignorance, but where is the Vista? I feel like I knew once but have now forgotten. The Pochard x Tufted Duck hybrid is certainly the most interesting thing though the picture of the Peregrine was fabulous and very interesting to see.
    This morning I was in the park to see the old cars race to Brighton, including the steam car and round by the Dell, I found a very small Cetti's Warbler flying between the trees before the reeds. That was an incredible find for me!

    1. The Vista is the broad grass walk down from Kensington Palace to the Long Water and a cross past the Henry Moore. When I say 'at the Vista' I usually mean at the waterfront where it hits the lake.

      I've occasionally heard a Cetti's in the reeds beside the Serpentine outflow. I think there are only a few in the park, maybe only one on the Long Water and one on the Serpentine, but they get around.

  2. It was fun to hear the Robin ticking irritably at the Great Tit to make its displeasure known before coming out for its stellar cameo. I would have said a Great Tit would put the fear of God in most any birds, but it appears Robins don't know fear.

    1. And we shouldn't forget Blue Tits, which pack all the punch of a Great Tit into a smaller body. Neither of these is frightened by the Robin, just inconvenienced as he hurls himself at them. They move to another twig and continue coming down to my hand.

  3. Certainly looks like a Pochard x Tufted Duck hybrid, Ralph. Probably one of the commonest duck hybrids.

    Do love a Strawberry Tree.

    1. This one looks exactly like its presumed predecessors. I suppose thse hybrids are alike because the two species are closely related, unlike Canada x Greylag hybrids whose appearance is highky variable.

  4. I've been following this for a while and am planning to come to the Park this weekend for birdwatching for the first time. I would love to see the owl- could I ask where near the Round Pond the owl normally hangs out (and where the hole is in case she decides not to come out)? Thanks for making this- it's been really cool to get an idea of what I might be able to see!

    1. I don't put this information on the blog, so please write to me. The email address is on the web version of the blog.