Wednesday 29 November 2023

It's my pigeon, get your own

The male Peregrine on the Knightsbridge Barracks didn't get a share when his mate was ripping up a Feral Pigeon beside him on the ledge. But there are lots of pigeons and he can catch one for himself whenever he likes.

A female Pied Wagtail dashed about on the edge of the lake looking for larvae.

She found yet another kind of small wiggly creature.

A Robin in the Rose Garden was hunting under a bush.

The one by the Henry Moore sculpture came out on the railings.

A Wren perched in a bush near the Speke obelisk.

There were many hungry Great Tits in the Flower Walk. This one was among the lurid purple fruits of a beautyberry bush.

A Wood Pigeon checked a flower bed in the Rose Garden for edible leaves. While they will eat almost any kind of berry, ripe or unripe, they seem quite fussy about leaves and mostly prefer wild plants such as dandelion and clover. I've seen them really go for heuchera, but that's only in the summer borders.

A Feral Pigeon at the Dell restaurant found a pot that had contained coleslaw and was enjoying the remaining mayonnaise, a firm favourite with many species of bird.

There was a distant and obstructed view of a male Great Spotted Woodpecker at the leaf yard.

The female Little Owl at the Round Pond was staying in her hole when I went by ...

... but Julia found the male owl out on the dead tree, in one of his favourite places outside the hole in the end of the big branch, and got an excellent picture.

There were lots of Jackdaws there when I visited.

A young Magpie has become a regular scavenger at the Lido restaurant. Mark Williams photographed it there yesterday, and today I saw it rummaging in a bin, though it flew away before I could take a picture.

The dominant Black-Headed Gull was literally at his post on the landing stage.

Yellow 2F12 was also visible. I reported it earlier and found that it had been ringed on the seafront at Westcliff in Essex in February, and had later been seen in Regent's Park.

Not one of those exciting histories. But I met Alan Gibson, and he had seen a Black-Headed Gull ringed in Croatia, the first time he's found one from that country.

Shovellers mooched around in autumn reflections on the Long Water.

This is the young Mute Swan whose mother rescued it from being massacred by the killer swan on the Long Water and walked it up to the Round Pond. We were worried that it was growing slowly, but it's now full size and seems in good health. It was still with its mother.


  1. I take it that’s the changing winter plumage on the Black-headed Gulls face. Looks like it’s emerged from the base of the bill and grow outwards like some kind of fungus. Never seen that before.

  2. No wonder it still clings to its mother. It must be well aware that it owes its life to her.
    It's stunning how the peregrines seem to barely tolerate each other. The female in particular seems peculiarly un-romantic. But then again they've been together for a while, so whatever arrangement they have going it must be ideal for both of them.

    1. Peregrines seem to be naturally callous. The male does offer a share to the female as a bribe for letting him mate, but often she flies off as soon as she's eaten it. Anyway, a strong contrast with the devotion of pairs of gulls and grebes.

    2. It's fair to say they don't indulge in lovey-dovey behaviour much, if at all, but some pairs can be quite companionable. This pair near me were sitting together on the same crane before the tiercel decided to take off: link

      But to really get a perspective of their relationship, you really need to see them in the air. Some birds establish or renew their pair bonds by singing or dancing. Peregrines fly.

    3. A good point and a fine picture. Where is this crane? And may I use the picture on the blog? Normally when I do this I credit people, so I'd need your name unless, like some contributors, you prefer to remain anonymous.

  3. There was a documentary a few years ago discussing how central London Peregrines have some of their best hunting success at night. Do you think these probably prefer to hunt then and when not breeding, their daytime activity would correlate strongly with cold weather? Jim

    1. I've heard of Peregrines waiting near bright lights at night, such as the tall lighting posts of lorry parks, and catching night-flying birds as these pass through the pool of light. But these Peregrines can catch all the pigeons they need whenever they're hungry so they don't need to be clever.

  4. Peregrines today at Cromwell road together. Confirmed that there is a male a female.
    Male was attacked by a crow close to the road so I saw it well

    1. Many thanks. I saw one of of the barracks pair at 12.30, so it looks as if there really are two different pairs.