Saturday 4 May 2024

Pictures from all over

A Goldcrest in the yew at the bridge caught a tiny insect.

Wrens are singing, scolding and dashing about all round the Long Water. Here are some of them.

The Coal Tit at Mount Gate called loudly for me to produce a pine nut. Once they trust you they become very demanding.

A Carrion Crow at the Lido was eating some gruesome morsel, fortunately not from any of the young birds we've seen on the blog -- there had been no further casualties.

A Magpie rummaged through grass cuttings to find insects, and did get one.

Theodore got a good picture of one of the Whitethroats at the Queen's Temple ...

... and Ahmet Amerikali found one of the Reed Warblers showing well in a tree, rather than obscured by reeds as usual.

Tom was at Rainham Marshes, where he got a remarkable shot of a female Linnet feeding a young one ...

... a Short-Eared Owl ...

... and a Woodchat Shrike, a bird I have never seen and it was Tom's first sighting at Rainham. If all goes well I shall be there tomorrow, but heaven knows if I shall be lucky enough to see it.

The female Peregrine flew on to the barracks tower at 2.45, alone. Theodore has been seeing more of the Peregrines in the Cromwell Road and I've been seeing less of them here, which strengthens the likelihood of them being the same pair. But, as I've said before, the only thing that will settle that beyond reasonable doubt is seeing a red plastic ring on the left leg of a female in the Cromwell Road, and so far no one has managed this.

The young Lesser Black-Backed Gull that may be the two-year-old offspring of Pigeon Eater was lording it over the territory near the Dell restaurant, with the nearest other gull 100 yards away, This is exactly how Pigeon Eater behaves, driving off all rivals, and it looks as if this one is taking after its father.

The Great Crested Grebes' nest on the Long Water where I saw the chick, but was then empty, was occupied again today. It's impossible to tell from that distance whether there's a chick there or not unless it comes right out on the water.

The other nest also had a sitting grebe, visibly the male of the pair as you can tell by his wide crest.

Joan Chatterley got a good picture of a parent and a chick at Walthamstow Wetlands, where the supply of fish is better than on the heavily Cormorant-fished Long Water so grebes can breed successfully in early spring.

The eldest Egyptian gosling at the Lido has lost almost all of its juvenile down and should look smart again in a couple of days.

The female Mute Swan that we were worried about was back on the nest, but it's just been reported that the eggs have been stolen. Sad as that is, it's probably for the best, as her absence from the nest would probably have let them get cold enough to kill the embryos, so that she would have sat on them well past their expected hatching time and perhaps starved to death. She needs to give up the attempt, come out on the lake again and feed herself back to health.


  1. Hi Ralph, superb pic of a SEO today, very sad about the swan's eggs, do you think the culprit human ?.(Albeit a nasty one!) ..or perhaps a fox?..a woodchat shrike, you say ?...a relative of the infamous "butcher bird" masked shrike, perhaps?.regards,Stephen..

    1. Yes, sadly I do think it was a human. This has often happened before.

      I was surprised to find that there are seven shrike species in Europe. Have only seen Masked, Great Grey and Red-Backed myself.

  2. Have noticed over time that nearly all the birds develop a sense of entitlement once they know you have food for them. Have had numerous 'tellings-off' from my charges over the years, including great/blue/coal tits, robind, blackbirds, crows and even a moorhen on one memorable occasion - it actually jumped up on the railings to fire off at me for not providing biscuit fragments immediately. :)

  3. I once found some abandoned swan eggs on the bottom of the Serpentine by Peter Pan but I still have those. The Peregrine had just arrived at Cromwell Road around 15:00 but I never have a camera or binoculars when I am there, so I will not be able to see the plastic ring unfortunately. Thank you for making my photos look so great on the blog!

    1. It could have been the male in the Cromwell Road at 15:00. I checked the barracks from a distance and he was definitely not with her.

  4. Hi again Ralph, I wonder what posseses people to steal/destroy ANY birds eggs ?....we have A LOT of raptor persecution here in Cheshire...peregrines and red kites makes me VERY angry....luckily these people are in the minority...good job there are enough of us who care very much about preserving wildlife.......regards,Stephen..

    1. Seventy-five years crawling about this planet have taught me never to underestimate the depths of human iniquity.

  5. What are they going to do with the eggs? Stick them up their backside? Proper lowlifes.

  6. Stealing eggs is such a puzzling activity. What benefit would come out of it? Unless the thief in question is planning to have them incubate him or herself and then sell the chicks, as is the case with Peregrines eggs and other falcons.

  7. I echo Jenna's comments 100%. A definite wildlife crime !!..regards to ALL animals lovers who read this blog,Stephen.

  8. Not only that, for some bizarre reason people were also dumping rubbish into the nest - and I mean all sorts of stuff like plastic cups etc., it was pitiable to see it. I despair for this planet and it's future.