Friday 8 December 2023

A serious Coot fight

Two Coots had been chasing each other for several minutes before settling down to a severe fight. This clip shows the second half. One of them was clearly winning, and the loser was trying to hold it off -- in vain, as the winner gripped it and tried to drown it. However, the loser managed to break free, and had a preen and a flap to settle its nerves after a narrow escape.

The youngest Great Crested Grebe, now fishing for itself and only begging occasionally from its parents, is spending most of its time at the Serpentine outflow. Maybe this is a good fishing spot, or maybe it likes listening to the cellist who is busking on the bridge with a well judged selection of romantic favourites, just the thing to appeal to the passing crowds.

Also staying at this end of the lake is the young Mute Swan that flew in from Regent's Park. There is a small group of swans here keeping away from the killer swan who attacks everything farther up the lake. People were worried that the adults here were bullying the young swan, but today all seemed reasonably peaceful.

There are now over 60 swans on the Round Pond, far too many, most of which have fled the main lake to get away from the killer.

A Cormorant dried its wings on a post under the bridge, giving a top view looking down from the parapet.

A young Herring Gull chased an adult for no apparent reason. Young gulls are bumptious and have little respect for their elders.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull called a warning to other gulls to stay out of his patch. Then he flew up and drove these two away.

Three Common Gulls perched in a row on the posts at Peter Pan.

The Little Owl at the Round Pond was not tempted out of her hole by the weak winter sunshine.

A pair of Magpies are always waiting for peanuts beside the path from the bridge to the Vista ...

... and a pair of Carrion Crows perch at the top of the next tree planning to swoop down and get the nuts before the Magpies can reach them.

A crow waited under the odd ornamental fatsia in a pot at the Lido restaurant.

The Pied Wagtails were skittering through the dead leaves washed up at the edge.

London is full of Redwings, but few come to the park until after the Winter Wasteland has been dismantled. This one was near the leaf yard.

A Great Tit perched among the last few leaves on a lime tree.

More clips of the Robins which are singing all over the Rose Garden. I've never known there to be so many here.


  1. There's something very chilling in the thought that there is a fight to the death going on, and a random passer by is complaining that Spanish socialists are seen as communists, blithely oblivious to the makings of a tragedy in front of him. Deeply symbolic.

    1. A squadron of angry Coots would sort out the PSOE in no time at all.

  2. Coots are such fractious birds, though we currently have over 200 at Ruislip Lido which are currently more sociable.

    I did find two small groups of Redwing yesterday at Kew. Lovely portrait here.

    1. With over 200 Coots on a fairly small and crowded lake we often see fights, but they are normally brief flurries and this looks like a deliberate assassination of a hated rival. I haven't seen anything as single-mindedly murderous as this before.

      Plenty of Fieldfare also reported in outer London, but I haven't seen one in the park for several years, even when we have plenty of Redwing after the removal of the funfair. And even then it was only one at a time. Well, different birds like different places.

  3. Weird that coots gather in such big groups - but are also quite people, I suppose. Haven't seen a redwing so far this year but have fond memories of seeing them (with you) in Hyde Park, last year I think

    1. There are over 200 Coots in the park, though I haven't counted them for a while and it may be considerably more. They have no option than to gather in big groups.

      There will be lots of Redwings on the Parade Ground in mid-January when the removal of the Wasteland leaves acres of bare ground in which somehow the worms have survived being covered with metal plates for ten weeks.