Thursday, 8 December 2016

It was a dismally dark day, and the street lamps around the lake had switched themselves on at midday -- they are gas lamps, but anachronistically controlled by photelectric cells. There were few people around, and a Wren was taking the opportunity to have a bath in the middle of a path in the Rose Garden.

Goldcrests were leaping about in the yew tree at the southwest corner of the leaf yard, but I couldn't get a picture. So here is a good one taken by Tom yesterday, when the light was slightly better.

The male Little Owl in the lime tree near the Henry Moore sculpture had come out in front of the pair's new nest hole.

The usual Grey Heron was standing in the nest on the island, and its mate was above it on a perilously thin branch at the top of a birch tree.

It's odd that Herons have this urge to stand in the tops of trees, exposed to attack from hostile crows and gulls, when all their food is in the water or on the ground below.

The pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull was hunting in his usual spot near the Dell restaurant, but having no luck while I was watching. He stretched a wing ...

... then irritably chased off a young Herring Gull that was on his patch.

Another young gull was pulling the rope of a lifebelt.

Every gull likes a good buoy.

This one stole a peanut from a Carrion Crow and tossed it around. But it didn't seem to realise that it was edible, even when its powerful beak crushed the shell.

I've seen adult Herring Gulls opening peanuts, but evidently this young one hadn't learnt about them.

The white Mallard was also baffled by a peanut he found under the balcony of the Lido restaurant. Ducks will happily eat shelled peanuts, but can't open whole ones.

A Mute Swan charged down the Serpentine in a takeoff run before climbing steeply to fly over the bridge. They won't fly under it, although there is plenty of room.

The young swan that was adopted by the sadly missed Black Swan remembers me, and came over to take a digestive biscuit. She is a gentle bird and doesn't bite.

The female Egyptian Goose at Bluebird Boats is still ignoring her mate's advances, quite rightly at this time of year.


  1. How is the Young Swan coping, I wonder? She's been orphaned twice, unfortunately. And what became of the Girlfriend? The Young Swan has a remarkable memory, but then again, birds remember their benefactors better than many humans.

    Lovely catalogue of gull antics. I ought not to be so in love with them, but I can't help it.

    1. The Young Swan seems perfectly well adjusted, and is going around with other swans, both young and adult. I don't know about the Girlfriend, but will ask Jorgen, who keeps a close eye on all the waterfowl. I think BS was keener on her than she on him.

      Well, yes, gulls' behaviour is fascinating and there are no two ways about it. Another generally reviled bird, the Magpie, gets some attention on Africa Gomez' excellent (though too infrequent) blog The Rattling Crow.

  2. No photos of pigeons eating gulls today? I hope their behaviour doesn't catch on where I live! Lovely to see the photo of the young swan. What happened to her siblings as I didn't follow your blog then. Perhaps she was the only survivor?

    1. The young swan was the only one in the brood from the moment we first saw her. It wasn't a good year for the swans. Then her mother died.