Thursday 16 November 2023

The wide-ranging Grey Wagtail

The young Grey Wagtail can be seen anywhere around the lake, from the Italian Garden to the stream in the Dell. Today it was hunting along the edge below the Triangle car park.

While this seems to be the only Grey Wagtail in the park at present, there are lots of Pied Wagtails. A dank day kept most people off the Lido restaurant terrace, so a female wagtail took the opportunity to look for insects on food scraps.

A Wren was also after insects in a holly tree near Peter Pan.

A Wood Pigeon ate the small rose hips of a rambler rose on the pergola in the Rose Garden. Although this oriental rose is a popular garden plant in Britain it's considered an invasive weed in the United States and people are trying to eradicate it.

The male Chaffinch in the Flower Walk followed me halfway to the Round Pond, wanting pine nuts to be thrown up for him to catch.

At the Round Pond a pair of Egyptian Geese were making a racket on the top of the Little Owls' nest tree.

The male owl came out on the edge of the hole, perhaps to get away from the noise echoing inside the tree, which is hollow from top to bottom.

A Jackdaw politely requested a peanut.

A paper cup made a pleasing toy for a young Herring Gull. It could be rolled around and then squashed, and made in interesting noise when pecked.

The odd couple of a Lesser Black-Backed Gull and a Herring Gull have been together for some time and seem well settled. They had a call together. Although Lesser Black-Backs are slightly smaller than Herring Gulls they have deeper voices.

Usually this notice near the Dell restaurant is occupied the Black-Headed Gull EZ73301, but today it had been pushed off by another gull. This flew away before I could get the whole ring number, but the last three digits are 842.

There's no doubt about who this is on the opposite side of the lake, the Czech visitor ET05.589, recently given the plastic ring 2V57 by Bill Haines. It's a regular rival for the post with EZ73313.

The gull who owns the landing stage at the Diana fountain now has an almost completely dark head, well in advance of the other Black-Headed Gulls.

A young Cormorant at the Italian Garden looked rather like Sadiq Khan (though that's a dreadful thing to say about an innocent bird).

A Great Crested Grebe at the bridge was looking very handsome in a restrained way with his plain winter plumage. You can tell he's male from the width of his crest.

But he isn't the male of the pair who nested by the bridge, as they were out on the Serpentine having a territorial dispute with another grebe, probably one from the island. This pair is distinctive as the male still has most of his breeding plumage.

Two of the four teenage Moorhens in the Italian Garden found a dropped apple and shared it though the one on the right, which found it, was slightly reluctant to let the other have a go. But if they were Coots they'd be fighting.

This Mute Swan at the Dell restaurant, with ring Orange 4FYB, has a bad case of pink mould on its feathers. Apparently they get it when people feed them mouldy bread, which sadly happens quite often.


  1. If we're at celebrity likenesses, maybe the odd gull couple should be called Simon & Garfunkel, the latter being taller yet higher-pitched, and also the fair-haired. Jim

    1. Is Sadiq Khan a celebrity? If so, we're doomed.

    2. I regret to say that at least here he sort of is.
      I had never seen that colour in a swan before. Does it affect its health? I would assume it would make its feathers worse insulators at the very least.

    3. Yes, it makes the feathers brittle and less waterproof, and in bad cases the swan can die of hypothermia. I've alerted the rescue volunteers.

    4. What can he be feted for in Spain? The hopper fare, ULEZ, tall buildings or minority trailblazing? The first is a big plus in my book. Jim