Monday 11 December 2023

Through the hedge

The dominant Robin in the Flower Walk emerged from the middle of a yew hedge. There were no other small birds around for him to bully, so he enjoyed a leisurely meal on my hand, taking seven pine nuts.

The Robin by the Henry Moore sculpture also came to my hand.

The Robins in the Rose Garden are much more wary of people, and often don't even take pine nuts off the ground. It's a busy place and at the moment very noisy, with the funfair going full blast next to it and the frequent police sirens from Hyde Park Corner. You have to wait for a silent moment before you can shoot a video.

A pair of agile Great Tits leapt about in a tangle of climbing roses.

The Little Owl at the Round Pond wasn't visible in the morning, but she came out to the front of her hole in the afternoon.

I managed to get this picture, taken straight into the sun, by standing in the shadow of the tree. I'm surprised it came out so well -- I haven't even had to adjust the lighting or colour. There must have been a lot of back reflection from the sunlit grass, as you can see that the owl's pupils are quite contracted although she's in complete shade.

A Magpie glowed in the low winter afternoon sunlight.

There were quite a few people on the Lido restaurant terrace, so the Starlings had turned up to scavenge.

It was a surprise to see a Jackdaw on a tarpaulin-covered rowing boat moored in the middle of the Serpentine.

The Grey Wagtail was running along the edge of the lake.

A female Pied Wagtail hunted on the grass beside the Round Pond.

A Lesser Black-Backed Gull, despite its powerful beak, had difficulty pecking bits off a chunk of remarkably tough meat. I was wondering what it was, and decided it must be a discarded lump of doner kebab from a stall at the Winter Wasteland.

The Black-Headed Gull had regained dominance of the landing stage.

Some of the other gulls are now beginning to get their dark heads, so he won't be as conspicuous soon.

The old Grey Heron came down to the gravel strip on the Long Water.

A Moorhen cruised through fallen leaves below the Italian Garden ...

... and one of the four young ones was eating grass at the edge of the garden.

The sunshine brought out the colours of the Shovellers feeding at the Vista.


  1. Is that the old arthritic Heron? It looks dishevelled, but I hope it can still take care of its feathers.
    The dominant Robin is doing a great impersonation of a tiny velociraptor. No doubt it'd make a great predator if it only could.

    1. Yes, it is the arthritic heron. The older they get, the more untidy the feathers down their front, like an old man wearing a frayed woollen scarf.

      A Robin is a great predator on its own scale of insects and worms. It catches worms longer than itself and hacks them into bite-sized pieces with ferocious enthusiasm.

  2. Certainly a very advanced Black-headed Gull in its moult. I haven't seen any yet this advanced, though I normally see the odd bird like this in January.

    It was good to have a fully dry day yesterday. The Shovelers are looking good in the sunshine.

    1. The gull got his dark head several weeks ago, months in advance of the crowd. I think it's something to do with surging hormones that give him his dominant status.

    2. And maybe a further hormone surge on account of his dominant status, as has been measured in fans of a winning football team, versus the losing side. Jim