Wednesday, 27 February 2013


Blue Tits are beginning to claim gas lamp posts in preparation for nesting. This male perched on the cast iron column, sang a few phrases, and then flew to the next post and sang again.


Presumably the hole in the top of the post where the gas pipe emerges is just large enough to admit a Blue Tit and not a larger bird such as a Great Tit, because I have never seen any other bird use a lamp post for a nest. The behaviour is widespread: I have seen seen half a dozen of the Hyde Park gas lamps used in this way. There is a bulge in each column just below the top which would give just enough space for a nest.

The Moorhens in the Italian Garden ponds seem to be making first attempt at nesting, though they have not gathered enough material to make it certain whether they are beginning in earnest.

One of the Grey Herons' nests on the Serpentine island has been continuously occupied for several days. However, the bird in it has been standing up every time I see it. When herons are actually sitting on eggs, they subside into the huge tangle of twigs and sometimes become invisible.

A crowd of Jays to the north of the Albert Memorial were making a loud protest around a tree with a hole in it. It is possible that the male Tawny Owl, who has not been seen since mid-January, is spending the day here. The tree is close to the one in which he was first seen with the owlets last March. On the other hand, the bird in the hole may have been a Little Owl, since the place is near the Serpentine Gallery where Little Owls have been seen. Or maybe these excitable birds were making a fuss about nothing. By the way, a Little Owl was heard calling in the leaf yard yesterday, but not seen.

A Little Grebe made a welcome reappearance on the Long Water, under the willow tree next to the Italian Garden. Here it caught a fish, by no means a small one and maybe near the maximum size it could cope with. First the victim is given a good shake to stun it ...


...then down it goes, head first.


This female Gadwall is clearly showing the white 'speculum' which distinguishes her from a female Mallard when she raises her wings a little. Mallards of both sexes have an iridescent blue speculum. The feathers that are visible are the tertials, the innermost flight feathers.

2 comments:

  1. Having come across this delightful 'blog' fairly recently I now look forward to hearing each day what is going on in the parks. It is written in a thoroughly entertaining manner. Thank you.

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    1. And thank you too for your kind words.

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