Sunday 4 February 2024

The leaf yard returns to normal

The south side of the leaf yard, which had been reduced to a monoculture of Rose-Ringed Parakeets by people feeding them, seems to be recovering its diversity now that the people have moved to the other side of the Long Water. It seems that someone has been feeding the small birds here: there was seed on the railings and a lump of suet on a spike. A Carrion Crow made short work of that, knocking the lump on to the ground, grabbing it and flying off.

A Robin was very bold and came to feed from my hand several times.

I used to have a hidden parakeet-proof seed feeder here, though after it was stolen for the fourth time I had to give up as decent feeders are quite expensive. There was a Robin that used to come out when I was refilling it; maybe this was the same one.

There were lots of Great Tits. This one was a bit threadbare. It seems to happen to tits that they get bald patches in their yellow fronts, perhaps due to a heavy infestation of feather mites. This one seemed quite all right in other ways and was a good yellow colour, a sign of health.

The local Song Thrush was in good voice in a tree above.

So was the dominant Robin in the Flower Walk, singing in a flowering viburnum bush.

A Coal Tit stared out suspiciously from the yew tree by the bridge.

A young Herring Gull on the Serpentine had found something -- it's not clear what, it looks like a piece of bone. The others chased it, trying to make it drop its prize.

A Black-Headed Gull had a wash.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was on his usual station by the Dell restaurant, taking a break from his hunting.

There was quite a strong wind, and the Grey Heron guarding the nest on the island was getting blown about.

A heron on the post at the Vista had hunched itself into the posture that herons adopt to reduce their wind resistance.

A Mute Swan beside the Serpentine carelessly turned downwind and had a Marilyn Monroe moment.

A party of swans came ashore beside the lake outflow to browse the rough grass behind the reed bed.

Egyptian Geese straggled all over the Serpentine Road, taking risks with passing horses and bicycles. But they are lighter and quicker than the big geese and swans, which sometimes get hit.

The Moorhen parents in the Italian Garden, which have tolerated their four teenagers for months, are beginning to chase them off in preparation for the next breeding season.


  1. Hi Ralph, I enjoyed you little film of the Egyptian geese, what characters they are !!. I 'm glad they were not hurt !. How VERY sad to think that there are plenty of horrid people who seem fit to steal your expensive feeders !....(parakeet proof,no less !!)....I have had a barn owl box vandalised recently,very annoying !!...great blog,as always,regards,Stephen...

    1. Thoroughly irresponsible behaviour by the Egyptians. But swans are worse, they just lie down in the middle of the road and expect everyone to go round them,

      I'm afraid that the world is full of horrible people.

  2. I remember the feeder. You put it up so many times, only to be stolen every time. You did what you could.
    BTW, I saw today this film of a young gulls playing with a golf ball in Madrid. The behaviour seems to be spreading:
    (people are commenting, wrongly, that the gulls thought it was an egg. They clearly aren't familiar with gulls' fondness for rolling things)

    1. Hilarious video, and typical play behaviour by gulls. Things that roll, and strings to pull, fascinate them. You can see why some birdwatchers get so obsessed with gulls that they are in danger of ignoring all other birds -- I know a couple of people like that.

  3. Theodore et al - it might be worth checking the Cromwell Rd building around midday, when the birds most often seem to be on Hyde Park Barracks. On Saturday they were there between around 11.30am and 2.25 pm - they made a few attempts but weren't successful. Pretty sure I saw a bird on the Holiday Inn later, but that doesn't prove anything - you really need to see two birds on/near both locations at the same time.

    1. Thanks for the information! I am only able to check during the middle of the day on the weekends but I will try. I have seen something recently but it is bit far up so I should take the camera. This morning, the Peregrine was sunning itself very nicely on Cromwell Road

    2. I saw the pair on the barracks between 12 and 3 today.