Monday, 21 October 2013

One of the Nuthatches came down to take food off the railings around the leaf yard, and managed to pick up two pine nuts at once.

They carry these away and cache them, returning a minute later for some more. Other birds such as tits may be watching, and fly over to steal them, but all the small seed-eating birds steal each other's caches so it probably evens out in the end.

While I was taking pictures here a Great Tit, tired of being ignored, landed on my camera as if telling me to get back to work.

The incessant cries of the young Great Crested Grebes have the same purpose, but their devoted parents are feeding them as fast as they can throughout the hours of daylight. All the young grebes have become noticeably quieter this week, as they grow up.

Last Monday I put up a picture of a young Lesser Black-Backed Gull eating a pigeon on the edge of the Serpentine, and I wondered whether it had caught it itself, or had stolen it from one of the two adults that hunt pigeons. The answer seems to be the second: here the adult comes in to chase the young bird away from the kill.

The odd couple of gulls are back in their accustomed place on the south shore of the Serpentine 100 yards from the east end. The Lesser Black-Backed Gull is an adult, four or more years old. The Herring Gull is a third-winter bird, and will have fully adult plumage next year. Here they are playing silly games with leaves together.

They are also calling to each other in their different voices. Herring Gulls are sopranos, Lesser Black-Backs are contraltos.

The male Tufted Ducks are coming out of eclipse and regrowing their smart white sides.

Of all the ducks on the lake, they are the last to finish their moult. They also breed later than other ducks -- though the last time that Tufted Ducks managed to breed on the Long Water was a decade ago.


  1. What a pity that no one was available to catch on camera the moment when the Great Tit landed on yours! It will be interesting to see if the two gulls breed. We seem to have a few of these mixed race pairs now. Perhaps 'diverse society' or 'pc' has invaded even our London parks?

  2. Herring Gull - Lesser Black-Back hybrids are fertile, as are those between either and Yellow-Legged Gulls, so the species blur into each other quite a lot.