Thursday 1 February 2024

Heron manoeuvres

One of the Grey Heron parents was fussing around in the nest. You don't get a good view, but it's an encouraging sign that the chicks are still there.

Yesterday there were two herons standing on the edge of the Serpentine by the terrace of the Lido restaurant, the usual young one and an adult I haven't seen here before.

Today the adult was there alone ...

... and the young one had been banished to the Lido swimming area, where it was fishing at the edge.

A Cormorant fishing under the edge of the Italian Garden swallowed a perch.

There were nine in a row on the posts at Peter Pan.

The Black Swan, returned to the Round Pond from his expedition to the Serpentine, was alone the first time I visited, but later he was with his girlfriend.

Although it was sunny, the Little Owl hadn't emerged from her tree, and a pair of Stock Doves were cheekily perched on the edge of the hole.

A Pied Wagtail hunted on the gravel strip.

A Grey Wagtail shot up the edge of the Serpentine and landed behind the barrier that guards the fallen masonry from the bridge. It knew it could run around undisturbed here. But it was 50 yards away, so I didn't get much of a shot.

Also seen from a distance, a few more Redwings have arrived on the Parade Ground and the total number is maybe a dozen now. But that's nothing to the big flocks of previous years.

The female Peregrine watched her mate eating a pigeon on the tower. They don't usually share their kills, except when the male tries to bribe her so he can mate -- sometimes she eats her share and flies off at once to avoid his advances. But there's no hardship, as both of them can catch a pigeon any time they like.

The pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull eyed some potential victims. But he knows that a straight charge won't catch one, and has to wait until it's distracted and stops watching him.

The pair of Lesser Black-Backs were on the raft again. There's a remote chance that they will nest here, and they are quite able to repel any geese that might have the same idea.

A male Chaffinch perched on a tree in the Rose Garden shrubbery.

Below him was a Red Admiral, the first butterfly I've seen this year. But Conehead 54 beat me by several days, also with a Red Admiral.

A single crocus has bravely come up by the path above the Queen's Temple. I think this is a Naked-Flowered Crocus, C. nudiflorus.

Farther along the path, a huge tractor and trailer were hauling away the sawn-up remains of the big lime tree that was uprooted in a recent storm.


  1. Cromwell Peregrines were there this morning around 8:10

    1. Thanks. I didn't see them on the tower here till after 12, so still no coincidence.

  2. I wonder how the Black Swan communicates with the girlfriend at all. I don't think they understand each other's calls. Posture is also different and signifies different things. I wish they could tell us how they do it!

    1. I don't think they have a word in common. But he is lonely, and she finds him interesting enough to stays with and I suppose appreciates the attention she gets. It's not much but it seems to be enough.

  3. Lovely shot of the Red Admiral, Ralph. I did see 2 more yesterday though definitely not photographable, as I was at the front of the top deck of a 65 bus returning from Richmond Park, when 2 battled each other in flight (or maybe courtship?) across the South Ealing Road in front of the stationary bus.

    A good number of Cormorants. Unusually I had none on the Pen Ponds-just one flying low over them.

    It would be interesting if the Lesser Black-backs do breed on the raft & make the behaviour more observable.

    1. Yes, considerably more Cormorants than usual at this time, when in most years they've fished out the lake to the point of diminishing returns.

  4. Disappointing about the redwings. Good news about the heron chicks and I saw somebody report a red admiral on Facebook yesterday too. Roll on spring!

    1. We've still got to trudge through filthy February.

    2. You might enjoy this!

    3. I actually saw Flanders and Swann singing that in At the Drop of a Hat. Shows how completely antediluvian I am.