Monday, 21 August 2017

The notorious Lesser Black-Backed Gull had just caught a pigeon on the edge of the Serpentine and was killing it in the water. His mate waited for him to finish, then they both started eating the unfortunate victim.


There are more Cormorants on the lake. Six of them were on on the posts at the Serpentine island.


One of the Great Crested Grebe chicks was begging for food. It approached its father half submerged, and then dived, as if encouraging him to go down and find a fish.


A Moorhen in the Italian Garden had three very new chicks, which were walking on the waterlily leaves under the fountain.


The Moorhen is still on the Coot nest in the boathouse, but hasn't laid any eggs. This is just as well, as it's unlikely that any chicks would survive in this unsuitable place on a platform that they can't get up to from the water.


One of the Bar-Headed Geese from St James's Park is visiting us. It was on the Round Pond two days ago, and has now moved down to the Serpentine.


The Black Swan was on the shore at the Lido, but saw some Mute Swan cygnets on the other side of the lake and came over. Their father shooed him off.


The female Little Owl near the Albert Memorial was at the back of the hole in the oak tree, hard to see in the shadows on a dim morning.


The female owl near the leaf yard was also visible. This picture was taken from under the chestnut tree looking out.


A Wood Pigeon was eating berries in a cotoneaster bush near the Serpentine bridge.


Paul took this good picture of a Wren crossing the top of the waterfall in the Dell.


The Robins are singing again after their summer break, as the pairs split up and they claim their individual territories.


On the Vista, two Magpies were very interested in a bit of tree branch. It looked rotten, and was probably full of insects.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

A flock of Long-Tailed Tits moved along the Flower Walk.


They were accompanied by at least 30 Blue Tits.


You get the impression that there aren't many Blue Tits in the park, because usually you see far more Great Tits. But Great Tits are fairly sedentary, so if you know where they live it's easy to find them. Blue Tits are more mobile, and often consort with Long-Tailed Tits in a foraging flock, so you see a lot of them at once.

So do Coal Tits, but this one was not part of the flock. It's one of the pair that live in a copper beech in the Rose Garden and visit the feeder.


To make up the full set of tits seen in the park, here's a Great Tit in a yew tree next to the bridge.


There was a family of Robins in the bushes in the Dell. This is one of the two young ones.


The Jays in the park are only occasionally seen in summer, when there is plenty of food for them and they don't feel the need for people to feed them. But one turned up and accepted a peanut. The jagged-leafed tree is an American oak a few yards from the Little Owls' tree next to the leaf yard.


The female Little Owl was in residence, good-naturedly putting up with several visitors who were photographing her.


A young Starling picked up crumbs under the crowded tables at the Dell restaurant.


Someone feeding the birds had shredded their bread into crumbs. These were keeping a young Herring Gull busy on the shore of the Serpentine. It would rather have had a larger piece to devour in a single gulp.


The pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull was on the roof of the Dell restaurant with his mate. There were too many people on the ground to make hunting a pigeon practical.


Four Mute Swan cygnets were enjoying a moment of silliness on the Serpentine.


The Moorhens on the Long Water were sensibly keeping their chicks under a bush beside the Vista. They were joined by an older chick, evidently theirs from an earlier brood.


The young Great Crested Grebes from the nest on the island were ranging all over the Serpentine.


A Greenbottle fly posed on a leaf at the Rose Garden.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

The teenage Mute Swans on the Long Water got too close to a Grey Heron on a post, and it displayed its dislike of them.


I hadn't seen the Black Swan for two days, and was beginning to worry that he had left. But no, there he was, as elegant as ever.


He had just been keeping his head down.


The pale Canada--Greylag hybrid was with his Canada mate.


There have been at least four broods or singles of these hybrids on the lake in recent years. These two, although very unlike in appearance, are siblings. There was originally a brood of four, the other two of which looked like the paler speckled one on the right.


A Moorhen and five small chicks rushed around among the waterfowl at the Vista.


The Great Crested Grebe pair who nested unsuccessfully twice in the fallen poplar tree on the Long Water were displaying to each other, and made a half-hearted attempt at a dance. But only one bird came up with the necessary weed, and the attempt lapsed. I don't think they are really serious about nesting again.


The three young grebes on the Serpentine were cruising around all over the lake. I haven't seen one catch a fish yet, but that is very easy to miss in the wide expanse of water.


The racing pigeon was still under the feeder in the Rose Garden. He clearly has no intention of going home.


One of the young Robins was with him.


A Rose-Ringed Parakeet picked a plum from a tree in the Rose Garden and perched on the pergola to eat it.


The Little Owl at the leaf yard looked down from her usual chestnut tree.


There is a patch of long grass on Buck Hill near the Magazine where various wild flowers can be found, all naturally occurring and more interesting than the ones in the cultivated wild flower patches at the Lido and the Rose Garden. This is Toadflax.

Friday, 18 August 2017

A Mallard had three ducklings on the solar cell platform in the Round Pond.


Two of the Moorhen chicks at the bridge climbed around on the wire baskets.


One of the parents was preening on a post.


A Black-Headed Gull was trying to walk along the chain between the posts. It was not nearly as good at doing this as a Moorhen, and lost its balance and had to fly off.


The CD bird scarers are not having much effect on the Herring Gulls.


But gulls are not known for their obedience.


Thanks to TinĂºviel for sending a link to this pleasing picture.

The young Great Crested Grebes from the nest on the island gave their parents a moment of peace.


A Grey Heron was sitting down on the grass under the Henry Moore sculpture with its long legs stretched out in front of it.


A Wren was hopping around in a yew tree near the bridge.


A Comma butterfly basked in the lower branches of an oak.


The female Little Owl at the leaf yard was enjoying the sunshine while it lasted.


It started raining.


Afterwards, some Greylag Geese enjoyed the fresh rainwater in a puddle. They much prefer this to the water in the lake, which comes from a borehole and is very hard.


This is one of the Greylag teenagers, now adult size but with a distinctly juvenile, fresh minted look. Young Greylags don't have a white line along the lower edge of their folded wings.


This mushroom, a little under 4 inches across, was growing near the Blushers I saw yesterday. I think it's a Russula species, possibly R. emetica, 'The Sickener'.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

There has been another arrival of Red Crested Pochards on the Long Water, all drakes -- and all, of course, in eclipse and looking like females apart from their red bills and eyes.


A Mute Swan came down on the Serpentine and waterskied to a halt.


A pair of swans were preening on the Serpentine. Swans have the most feathers of any bird, in some species as many as 25,000, and these need constant attention.


One of the young Great Crested Grebes from the island was exercising a pair of quite well developed wings. It will be able to fly soon. Grebes have small wings for their size and need to fly at high speed to stay up, which is why their takeoff run is such a long and frantic affair.


The Moorhen chicks at the bridge are finding most of their own food, but are always pleased to accept something from a parent.


A Blue Tit in the Rose Garden had found some small white larvae on a twig, and was devouring them.


A Dunnock had also found a small white object, probably a seed from the bird feeder spilt by the enthusiastic rummaging of the tits. Dunnocks never seem to go on the feeder, and are almost always seen on the ground.


The racing pigeon, not seen for a few days, was also back under the feeder.


A Blackbird had found something more substantial, a worm under the railings.


A flock of Long-Tailed Tits was working its way along the edge of the Long Water.


Starlings were playing on the weathervane of the Lido restaurant. It also provides a vantage point for raids on the outside tables.


The female Little Owl at the leaf yard looked down from her new favourite branch.


There was a stand of mushrooms in the patch of scrub east of the Albert Memorial Little Owl tree. They looked like Blushers, Amanita rubescens, which are edible and good, and like Blushers, they stained dull red when bruised (hence the name). But they lacked the noticeable ring and volva (sheath at base) of an Amanita species, so I left them alone. Even with the real Blusher you have to be very careful, as most Amanitas are poisonous and some are deadly.