Sunday 3 December 2023

A bold heron

The female Little Owl at the Round Pond was keeping out of the drizzle.

She started preening, so I filmed her.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker called from a nearby treetop. At least you can see them when the leaves have fallen, but getting a focus on a distant bird through twigs is still difficult and I didn't do well.

The Robin on the edge of the Rose Garden was wringing wet but singing fit to bust.

It was answered by two others in the bushes down the slope.

Unfortunately, visitors to the Winter Wasteland are now feeding the Rose-Ringed Parakeets which are adding their shrieks to the sound of dismal Christmas songs and police sirens from Hyde Park Corner.

A Herring Gull perched disrespectfully on the statue of the goddess Diana. It should remember what happened to Actaeon when he intruded on her. Perhaps she will turn it into a pigeon to be torn apart by the pigeon-eating gull ...

... who was enjoying a late lunch at the Dell restaurant.

Black-Headed Gulls like to perch on the line of plastic buoys at the Lido. A Coot worked its way up the line like a general inspecting his troops.

Both the Grey Wagtail ...

... and the Pied Wagtails were running up the south shore of the Serpentine, keeping a respectful distance apart.

A Grey Heron blocked the path through the shrubbery at the southwest corner of the bridge. It showed no sign of giving way and I had to go round.

It looked as if a heron on the island was starting a nest. If so, that would be very early indeed. Even the early herons in Battersea Park wait another fortnight before they begin.

The youngest Great Crested Grebe was mooching around by itself in the water below.

The five teenage Mute Swans came under the bridge on to the Serpentine. There are now, I think, two other teenagers on the lake, both in danger from the killer father of this lot but so far they are staying at the east end where they're fairly safe.

A pair of Shovellers spun dizzyingly on the Long Water. Incidentally, you're supposed to spell it in the American style, 'Shoveler', now. But that looks just wrong to me.

A few more Gadwalls have arrived, making five in all. We never have many, though once there were 20. All are seasoned park birds fairly unafraid of people, and evidently fly in from St James's Park or Regent's Park when they feel like it.

It's odd that we have lots of Pochards and Shovellers, but other minority ducks such as Teal and Wigeon are very rarely seen.


  1. Aeschylus said that Artemis was kind and tender to cubs of all manners of beasts but wouldn't have mercy on humans. That gull is perfectly safe. She'd probably even have a laugh about it.
    Now we know how the Little Owl spends some of her time in her hole: attending to her lovely feather mantle!

    1. Well, let's hope that Aeschylus was right. That's not a naive young gull behaving like a bumptious chick, it's an adult behaving outrageously.

      I've often seen those Little Owls preening out on branches. They're thin little birds inside a big coat of feathers and need a lot of maintenance.