Friday 2 February 2024

More Redwings arrive

The number of Redwings on the Parade Ground, at first very low, is now gradually increasing and we may have a respectable flock soon. The fenced-off area is an ideal feeding ground, secluded with a lot of bare earth and plenty of worms, and with trees for them to rest in.

The familiar male Chaffinch inhabits a remarkably large area well over half a mile square. Today he picked me up at the Round Pond.

The ground between the Flower Walk and the pond, which used to be a blank area that you hurried through to get to somewhere more interesting, is now bustling with hungry Great Tits and Blue Tits ...

... Starlings ...

... and various corvids including most of the park's population of Jackdaws.

There were always plenty of Great Tits at the southwest corner of the bridge. One perched on a dogwood stem in front of the winter-flowering cherry ...

... and a nervous Coat Tit looked down from above. They are always very camera shy.

A cyclamen was in flower on the ground below.

Mark Williams got a good picture of a Robin in full song.

The very dominant Black-Headed Gull who owns the landing stage and the surrounding area escorted two other gulls off his territory. He is the one already with the dark head of his breeding plumage which he got long before the other gulls, perhaps a sign of his status which is so high that he can repel rivals without having to fight.

One of the pair of breeding Grey Herons on the island was preening on the nest, while the other adult waited on the disused nest in the next tree. I still haven't heard the young ones begging, but they only do it when they see a parent arriving and you may not hear it for days at a time.

A slightly windswept heron stood on a post at the Vista.

The killer Mute Swan took his mate and four of the teenagers to the east end of the Serpentine to harass the other swans. So far the remaining swans are putting up a resistance.

Safely away from this, the Black Swan followed his girlfriend on the Round Pond.

One of the Egyptian Geese in the Italian Garden kept a lookout from an urn.

The elder of the two foxes trotted through the Dell. I haven't got a picture of the other yet.

While I found the first Red Admiral in the park yesterday, Mark photographed another in St James's Park on a wintersweet bush.


  1. How long has it been since the first Redwings started to arrive? Events tend to bleed into one another lately for me.
    I wonder why the rest of the swans haven't thought of mounting a collective defense against the bully. It works for magpies.

  2. There have been a few Redwings in Kensington Gardens for months. But to take advantage of the the Wasteland site they have to wait till it's completely cleared, and even then it takes a few days before they start trickling in. The first sighting I got of one there was on 25 January.

    I don't think swans have much of a community instinct. But Magpies live in families and larger bands.

  3. I presume the cyclamen are hardy, although they are very bright coloured? Maybe that gull has more testosterone than the others? Although I'm now wondering if testosterone is influential in birds, to be investigated...

    1. Cyclamen is very hardy, and there has been a patch near the Italian Garden for years. People think it's a house plant but indoor temperatures kill it.

      I think birds have a different male sex hormone. Must look this up.