Tuesday 5 December 2023

Rival songs

It was a slightly drizzly and very uneventful day, and I'm afraid that today's pictures are dull. At least the scene was livened by four Robins singing in the Rose Garden. Perhaps the awful Christmas songs coming over from the ice rink in the Winter Wasteland are seen as rivalry and they strive to compete. Here are two of them.

A Wren was jumping around in the Dell.

Starlings wandered over the grass by the Round Pond, with a flock of Greylag Geese in the background. I think the Starlings' main food source here is wireworms, which are not actually worms but the larvae of the click beetle, as I have often seen one bring up one of these.

The Little Owl was in her usual place, though it took a second visit before she came up to look over the edge.

A small family of Magpies lives by the Diana fountain.

The Pied Wagtail pair were running around the edge of the Serpentine. The male landed on a buoy at the Lido ...

... and came ashore to search through the dead leaves.

It's always the same pair and I never see any others in Hyde Park, though there are quite a few at the Round Pond. But when the Wasteland has been dismantled you see plenty of them on the ruined ground. Evidently they fly in and out, though heaven knows where from.

And there's still only the one young Grey Wagtail, which was on the edge at the Lido restaurant terrace. But these certainly come and go, as I've seen them streaking up Sloane Street from a small colony at the old coal wharf by Chelsea Bridge.

A Black-Headed Gull preened its immaculate feathers beside the Serpentine.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was washing his face after a bloody lunch.

Cormorants fished along the edge of the reed bed by the Italian Garden, catching any fish that carelessly came out from the shelter of the reeds.

A Grey Heron was inside the reed bed, looking for fish in the watery gaps.

The old heron was stolidly guarding his turf by the Henry Moore sculpture.

The youngest Great Crested Grebe was with its parents by the Serpentine outflow.

The Mallards that visit the Dell were away, allowing a Moorhen to return to its favourite rock in the stream.

A female Gadwall was by herself at the Lido, probably glad to be away from the drakes bickering over her.

The Black Swan on the Round Pond is now so much a part of the scene that I forget even to look at him. But here's a pleasing picture by Julia.


  1. Hi Ralph, I would not call any of your pictures dull !!!...the one of the heron in the reeds was especially pleasing...and the black swan, of course !!..I have taken some fairly average pics with my new Sony..regards,Stephen

    1. Practice makes perfect, I suppose. But the real secret of taking good pictures is to take hundreds and throw away the duds.

  2. I wouldn't call any day with four Robins, two of them pictured, dull!

    1. One thing we don't have a shortage of is Robins. The park is bursting with them. And of course you notice them more in winter when they are almost the only bird singing.

  3. I discovered this blog by chance a few days ago and I'm really enjoying it. I've been birdwatching in these parks for years, but I never knew until I read your blog that there were Little Owls. I've managed to find the tree using your photos, but no owl yet. I'll keep trying. Thank you for posting.

    1. Glad you're enjoying my efforts. The pictures of the Little Owl are taken from 25 yards away with the telephoto lens. If you stand any closer to the hole you can't see the owl because of the angle. So either binoculars or a long lens are needed. If you go at dusk when the park is closing you might be lucky enough to find an owl coming out to hunt on the ground. You can always leave the park by a turnstile if the gates are locked.

    2. Great advice. Thank you.