Tuesday 30 January 2024

Round Robin

It was an unexpectedly chilly morning after the recent mild spell. A Robin near the Flower Walk was fluffed up completely spherical against the cold.

Another was singing in the woodland beside the Henry Moore sculpture ...

... and a third appeared at the bridge, interested because I was feeding Great Tits but not yet daring to come closer.

A Great Tit pecked at a pine nut.

A Wren near the leaf yard gave the camera a severe stare.

The Redwings on the Parade Ground have been most disappointing so far this year. There are maybe half a dozen when normally by now we should have a substantial flock. They are also staying too far away from the fence to be seen and filmed clearly.

On my way home I had run out of peanuts. A Jackdaw gave me a reproachful look.

There was no sign of activity at the Grey Herons' nest on the island, but as usual the mate of the sitting bird was waiting in the next tree.

Herons sometimes perch on a small disused nest at the east end of the island, probably built by a Carrion Crow or a Magpie.

The young heron was waiting hopefully at the edge of the lake by the Lido restaurant.

A Cormorant fishing under the Italian Garden suddenly scooted away in a great hurry. I got a distant picture of it disentangling a fish from a bit of weed. Possibly in catching the fish it had disturbed one of the large and lethal pike that hang around at the top of the Long Water.

Cormorants on the fallen horse chestnut in the Long Water in three states: on the left, in breeding plumage; front right, in normal plumage; and behind it a young Cormorant still with a juvenile off-white front.

A large flock of Canada and Greylag Geese grazed by the Round Pond.

This pair of Canadas nest on the edge of the island every year, but Jenna tells me that they have never succeeded in raising young.

Last year the Greylags did better than the Canadas. Jenna reckons that this is because they are living a more natural wild life, while the Canadas have become over-dependent on humans feeding them.

Even moderate rain turns the middle of the lawn east of the Dell into a swamp so soggy that you literally can't walk through it. This delights the resident pair of Egyptian Geese.

One of two foxes which have taken up residence in the Dell could be seen on the grass. It had a scratch and disappeared into the bushes.


  1. Hi Ralph. Nice to see you earlier today.

    Upon blowing up the image of the Canada geese, it indeed is my favourite old couple. Never had any goslings, she always came out of the nest a few weeks into it looking very thin.

    Either they can't take the month long starvation or they are just barren- one or both of them.

    1. It may also be down to that site on the edge of the island, with only sparse weeds to eat and no way of venturing into the interior to get something better.

  2. Are pike dangerous to Cormorants? Or have I understood that incorrectly? (my brain resembles pea soup right now, so perhaps that's the right answer).
    Robins in spherical configuration are a delight to see.

    1. I think pike are a danger to everything in or on the water, and some of the ones here are 1.2m long. A couple of years ago I saw a Cormorant trying to catch and eat a much smaller pike, and it fought furiously. Eventually the Cormorant overwhelmed it, but it was only a little one.