The Ruff being twitched by a couple of pigeons
I was at home minding my own business writing (what else) when I received a phone call from Tower 42 Bird Study Group devotee Des McKenzie. He excitedly told me that he was watching a juvenile Ruff down to 5 feet feeding around the edge of the Round Pond, Kensington Gardens in the shadow of Kensington Palace.
Let me tell you, the Round Pond is no tranquil backwater. No, it's home to a large herd of Mute Swans, accompanying gangs of Greylag and Canada Geese and there's usually a coating of larids of the Black-headed, Herring and Lesser Black-back varieties. During the winter the gull flocks are augmented by more gulls including Common Gulls and (usually) a returning wintering German-ringed Mediterranean Gull. Oh, and did I mention the hordes of tourists, joggers and people generally chucking bread at the waterfowl. It's a busy place.
Indeed, Des was innocently counting the gulls when the Ruff pitched down practically next to him and commenced chomping at the accumulated algae that had built up around the concrete shoreline. When he called me, I left the house within 30 seconds, drove like a demon to the nearby park and sprinted/hobbled (ankle football injury) until I saw Des and the bird next to him. Clearly, this juvenile must have spent it's yoof in the high arctic, migrated and pitched down in the centre of London to meet humans for the first time.
What a record though! Inner London's first record - a Ruff day!