Saturday 30 December 2023

Around the pond

A Pied Wagtail ran around on the rain-wetted edge of the Round Pond.

A Redwing perched in a tree, the only one I saw here.

A Jay dug in the grass. Was it looking for an acorn it had buried? Something scared it off before it came up with anything.

The Little Owl looked out of her hole for a moment. She seemed agitated.

When I had walked round the pond and passed by the tree again, it was clear why. A squirrel had got into the hole.

I'm not at all sure a Little Owl, however angry and defensive, could see off a squirrel. But owls have terrible claws and use them freely.

The Black Swan was on the gravel strip in the pond picking up dead leaves and throwing them around. This is nesting behaviour but I've seen other swans, including an earlier black visitor, doing it at idle moments without any intention of nesting.

There are now twelve teenage Mute Swans here of which only one hatched in the park. The others have all flown in at different times. You can see ten of them here.

One final picture from the Round Pond. The statue of Queen Victoria, made by her daughter Princess Louise, has been repaired. She has a new nose neatly joined to her face, and a new thumb to replace the previous repair, which had been attached on a metal pin and had come loose and revolved till it was facing the wrong way. She's also got her sceptre back, a separate piece which she had been unable to hold.

For a picture of the sad state of the statue before the repair, see my blog for 18 January this year.

A Goldcrest came down to drink from a puddle on the path around the Long Water ...

... a small flock of Blue Tits passed along the edge ...

... and a Green Woodpecker called from a tree on Buck Hill.

A Wren sang from the middle of a bush.

The pigeon eater's son (I'm pretty sure this quite large bird is male) hung around while his father was feeding, hoping to get a bit.

Coots often stand on the edge of the weir where the water flows out of the Serpentine. In previous years they have even built nests here, a terrible idea because the chicks get washed away the moment they leave the nest and can't climb up again.

Mark Williams went to see the Waxwings in Corinne Road near Tufnell Park Tube station and got a good shot.


  1. How nice to see a pic of a green woodpecker ! It certainly makes a just goes to show that there is always something interesting to see in the parks.regards,Stephen.

  2. They're often audible on Buck Hill but you only manage to see one occasionally, even in winter with no leaves.

  3. They are quite distinctive,are they not ?..

  4. Any chance the waxwings may end up in the park during their movements?
    Coots never learn, don't they.

  5. Unfortunately the park is not an attractive place for Waxwings. There are not nearly enough trees with berries, and the fruit there is gets picked off early by Starlings, Wood Pigeons and ravaging Rose-Ringed Parakeets. I have seen Waxwings in the park just once, in very early spring when they were eating the sweet leaf buds on a Lombardy poplar.

    I have nagged the park managers to plant more berry trees, not just for Waxwings but to sustain winter thrushes and other fruit-eating birds ... with the expected result.

  6. Lovely unusual shot of the drinking Goldcrest.

    It's certainly the best winter for many to connect with Waxwings. I saw the group in Balham on Boxing Day.

    Finally may I wish you a Happy & hopefully healthy 2024. Look forward to see the activities in next year's blogs.

    1. And a very happy New Year to you too, and to all readers.

  7. Lovely photos, goldcrest especially, particularly given the gloomy light

    1. It's only the second time I've seen a Goldcrest on the ground. Most unexpected, but they have to drink.