Wednesday 8 November 2023

A soggy grey day

It was a dismal day of drizzle interspersed with heavier rain. A bedraggled Magpie with a tattered tail sheltered under the table on the Lido restaurant terrace.

The local Robin, which has always been very shy, was on the steps of the upper level of the restaurant but turned and fled the moment it saw me.

A Wren was much bolder and came out from the shelter of the big leaves of an arum lily to perch on a rail.

Wrens could be heard all round the lake. This one was in a bramble patch beside the Long Water.

The female Little Owl was understandably staying in her hole. (It's always practically the same picture, I know, but a day without an owl is sadly incomplete.)

A Grey Heron preened on a branch. A bit of moisture on the feathers makes them easier to preen.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was stalking around with lunch on his mind.

The odd couple of a Lesser Black-Back and a Herring Gull moaned fondly at each other near the Triangle car park.

As usual, the Black-Headed Gull EZ73323 was on his post.

But I don't think I've seen this one with the plastic ring Yellow 2F12 before. This is a ring of the North Thames Gull Group, who do much of their work at the unlovely Pitsea landfill site in Basildon, where the gulls go to breed. I've reported it but don't expect to see a very thrilling history.

A Cormorant vainly tried to dry its wings in the rain.

This is the youngest Great Crested Grebe chick from the east end of the Serpentine island, still far from fully grown. It was with its parents, who were having a territorial dispute with the pair from the other end of the island.

Filmed a few days ago when it was sunny: a panorama of the Long Water with countless Coots. There were no Coots in Central London till the early 1920s, when the staff of St James's Park thought it would be a nice idea to have some and put Coot eggs in the nests of the local Moorhens. Now they have bred out of control and are all over the place.

A single female Gadwall cropped algae off the concrete edge of the lake. 

She doesn't know that in the Italian Garden there is a lone drake who would be very pleased to see her.

Another lone duck, a Shoveller drake near the island for some reason separated from the group on the Long Water.

This sign pointing towards the Winter Wasteland could be taken in another sense.


  1. Today was not really a great day for birds I guess. The Owls must be featured every day! They would render my whole day incomplete! The day with no owl will be a very sad day indeed

    1. I'm doing my best with the owls but sooner or later the onset of winter will find them huddled invisibly in the tree, not to be seen till next spring. It was much easier when we had the reliable, and very hardy, Tawnies to view.

    2. Whatever happened with the Tawnies, by the way? They flew away somewhere, I'd expect.
      The bedraggled Magpie reminds me of another Magpie that perches near one of my windows. When it rains she runs to take shelter in the neighbour's window, but not before she is sogged to the tips of her feathers.

    3. The Tawny we saw last year was a single male, I think. Word got around where he was, too many people arrived to see him, and he deserted the spot. No one has found him again, which is good news for the owl if not for us.

    4. Coots are almost everywhere in the UK where there is fresh water - a shame that they were not left to recolonize central London on their own or let people study what an environment without them is like.

    5. Maybe they would have arrived by themselves. Of the three big central London parks Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens is unique because it has no 'collection' of captive birds, and all are here because tney want to be.