Monday, 5 November 2012
A day of thrushes. When I came into the park I hear a Song Thrush singing quietly to himself in a holly tree behind the Albert Memorial. These winter songs are described as 'sub-song', but he was doing all the proper phrases of the full song.
Then the yew tree on the path just north of Peter Pan was full of Song Thrushes, Mistle Thrushes and Blackbirds eating the berries. They would eat a few and then fly to a nearby holly tree for a moment's rest before returning.
And, as I was walking down the path on the east side of the Long Water, a Song Thrush came down to a puddle for a drink and a bath. It was so intent on its ablutions that it took no notice as people passed within a couple of feet of it.
Lastly, as I was going home across Buck Hill there were 12 Mistle Thrushes hunting for worms in the rough grass.
Roy Sanderson had news of the oldest known Black-Headed Gull. It died on the island of Griend in the Netherlands at the remarkable age of 33. It had been ringed at Worcester on 12 January 1980 at the age of one year. He is slightly disappointed that it wasn't one of his London gulls, but one of his friends and himself still have the record for the second and third oldest, ringed in Regent's Park and St James's Park in 1979, and known to have reached 29 and 27. He reckons that the recent harsh winters may have taken toll of several old gulls. He was getting several reported sightings of 20-22 year old birds until two years ago. Now the oldest seem to be no more that 13, like the two whose rings I recently photographed.
One of the small boathouses on the Serpentine has long been a favourite fishing place for Great Crested Grebes. They dive outside the boathouse, enter it under water, and come out again to eat the fish they have caught. The Cormorants sitting on the posts at the west end of the island have seen this, and are now fishing there too.
Nearby, a Magpie was clinging to a tree trunk and probing the bark for insects.
I have heard from a professional photographer, Virginia Grey, who for two years has been taking superb photographs of the Egyptian Geese on the Round Pond. She has now compiled the best pictures on this web page. Click on the small picture to see the full set, which is on two pages.