Thursday, 6 October 2016

The first Common Gull of the autumn has arrived on the Round Pond. It seemed to be alone.

A female Pied Wagtail was running around the edge of the pond. There are surprisingly few on the main lake at the moment. I think the Round Pond ones are a separate population and nest in the roof of Kensington Palace, where I have sometimes seen them flying in and out.

This is a very ordinary picture of a young Great Crested Grebe apart from its location -- it was on the Round Pond too. It must have flown up as soon as it was able to fly, and was lucky to find a pond it had never seen. There are plenty of fish here, and an adult grebe to keep it company.

Another young grebe was busy fishing on the Long Water near the Italian Garden.

It caught a perch.

Returning to wagtails, there was a young Grey Wagtail on the rocks in the Dell.

A pair of Herring Gulls were having a bonding ritual on the edge of the Serpentine. One was picking up twigs while the other was calling to it ...

... encouraging the first gull to pick up more twigs.

They aren't planning to nest at this inappropriate time. It's just a ritual.

This Black-Headed Gull on the Serpentine has a ring numbered EY09838, showing that it is one of the many gulls ringed by Roy Sanderson.

He would throw bits of biscuit in the air to attract them, then dextrously grab one and put on the ring in a few seconds, and off the gull would fly, angry but in no way traumatised. Much more humane than netting birds, as most ringers do.

Although it was a dry day with sunny intervals there were not many people in the park, and the Egyptian Geese had the Diana fountain almost to themselves. They were bathing in pairs, calling noisily to each other.

A Wren was hopping around in a patch of long grass near the Italian Garden.

It took three visits before the female Little Owl appeared near the leaf yard.

The lakeside path below the Triangle car park was alive with wasps, which milled around angrily whenever a runner thumped past, but no one was stung while I was there.


  1. I've been wondering if the potential to catch gulls like that gave rise to the verb "to gull". Jim

    1. Possibly people ate gulls in ancient and desperate times.

  2. I seem to remember that ancient Greeks hated how they tasted, so perhaps they ate them if ever at the uttermost end of need. But then they also thought that Gulls were reincarnated drowned sailors, so perhaps they didn't want to turn cannibals.

    1. Audubon ate all the birds he painted (not least because this cruel man had a bird shot every hour so that he could record it in a fresh state). I don't know where his tasting notes are, but if you can find them you will know about gulls. I do know that he ate a grebe (but don't know which species) and described it as 'fishy, fat and rancid'.