Monday, 23 October 2017

The female Little Owl at the leaf yard was visible again after spending several days in her hole sheltering from the gale.

A pair of Pied Wagtails crossed the Serpentine and paused for a moment in a tree.

A Starling perched on one of the royal crowns that act as chimneys for the gas lamp posts.

A Robin preened in the Rose Garden.

The Black Swan crossed paths with the pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull.

These four young swans spend much of their time in this place below the Triangle car park, often blocking the path. Two dozed, two preened, and one accidentally kicked the other and got prodded out of the way.

The white Mallard and his little group passed a Mute Swan, showing how yellow his new plumage is. In three months' time the colour will have faded so much that he is whiter than a swan.

There are three of these dark Mallards. Two were together at the Vista, and this one alone near Peter Pan. Presumably they are brothers. Their green heads are even shinier than those of normal Mallard drakes.

In contrast, a Gadwall drake is a model of sober elegance.

Four Cormorants attended to their feathers on the wrecked raft at the east end of the Serpentine.

The destruction caused by swans nesting on it revals that it is made of hollow plastic balls linked together, which were originally covered with a 'geotextile', a mat in which plants grew. I wish someone would repair these tattered rafts, replace the fence with something more swan-proof, and anchor them properly to stop them from drifting around. The park management has a tendency to install expensive things and then forget about them.

A pair of Coots were amicably sharing a bit of food, a rare sight with these belligerent birds.

Mario directed me to two new kinds of mushroom in Kensington Gardens, Brown Birch Bolete (Leccinum scabrum) ...

... and Trooping Funnel (Infundibulicybe geotropa) ...

... so called because of its habit of growing in lines or large groups.

The variety of fungi in Hyde Park is staggering, but of course you need a mushroom maven to point it out to you.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

A Grey Wagtail hunted insects on a raft at the east end of the Serpentine.

At the far end of the lake, near the Italian Garden, another two Grey Wagtails appeared. One of them perched on the dead willow tree, blending well with the grey bark and yellow lichen.

A Wren was hopping around in the nearby reed bed.

The red breast of a Robin on a tree root was almost camouflaged in the autumnal background.

A Nuthatch in the yew tree in the leaf yard was lit by the dappled sunlight as it waited to be fed.

A Great Tit in the same tree had the same idea.

In the yew between Peter Pan and the Italian Garden, a Rose-Ringed Parakeet ...

... and a Blackbird were eating berries.

A Magpie stared challengingly from a gatepost.

On a sunny day when people are having lunch at the outside tables of the restaurant, the place is awash with Starlings looking for scraps. While waiting, they can poke around in the planters for insects.

One of the young Great Crested Grebes followed a parent down the Serpentine.

I was wrong about this family being the only ones left. The pair from the east end of the Serpentine also appeared, in sober winter plumage. They fish among the rafts and are easy to miss.

The Grey Heron from the Dell watched for fish beside the small cascade. The little stream has fish of all sizes in it, mostly carp. Presumably they were washed over the waterfall in the background, which is the outflow of the Serpentine.

The Black Swan was preening on the edge of the lake.

A top view of a Shoveller drake from the bridge.

There was a fine Hen of the Woods fungus on an oak tree near the Speke obelisk.

This is not the same as a Chicken of the Woods, which is another tree fungus but bright yellow.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

It was a windy day.

After the exotic creatures at Rainham yesterday, we're back to the ordinary birds in the park.

All the Great Crested Grebes have left except for the family with three teenage chicks, which aren't quite old enough to fly yet.

Grebes often move to the Thames when frosty weather is coming, but it is unusual for them to be disturbed by a gale.

The pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull had caught a pigeon and was eating it, watched by an envious Carrion Crow.

He had evidently eaten his fill, because he swam away and left the remains to the crow.

When I came back later, two crows were sharing the last bits without quarrelling, an unusual sight. They must have been mates.

The second pigeon-killing gull, at the other end of the Serpentine, staked out out a territory on land and water and in the air by swaggering around it, shooing other gulls away, and calling. The upward jerk of the head signifies 'Don't mess with me.'

A young Black-Headed Gull played with a dead leaf.

A Cormorant landed on the last unoccupied post in front Peter Pan.

There was a Cormorant in the middle of the Serpentine which seemed to have caught a fish and picked up some algae with it. This often happens, and the Cormorants are adept at separating the fish from the weed. But this one seemed to be taking a very long time, so I took a very distant photograph. You can see that the fish has come up tangled in a bit of plastic netting.

This stuff is a serious pollutant. It nearly killed the Grey Heron at the east end of the lake when the bird got its beak stuck in a bit of netting, and had to be netted to get it off. I've published this video on the blog already, but no harm in seeing it again.

The Black Swan was shooed away by the dominant Mute Swan at the west end of the Serpentine. But he is no fun to chase, as he just dodges out of the way and comes back immediately.

So the big bully went after another swan, and had a satisfying chase right down the lake.

A Goldcrest jumped on to a twig in a bush beside the Long Water.

A Nuthatch looked out of the yew tree on the corner of the leaf yard, waiting to come down and take food from the railings.

Friday, 20 October 2017

A quick trip around the park before going to Rainham Marshes.

A Jackdaw pecked a peanut open on a much repaired swan-headed urn.

The Black Swan hurried over for his daily treat.

Two Grey Herons flying along the Serpentine climbed almost vertically to clear the bridge.

They could perfectly well have flown under it, but many birds dislike flying when there is something solid overhead.

At Rainham, the star of the show was a Spoonbill.

It flew around ...

... while an equally white Little Egret flew in the opposite direction.

A flock of Black-Tailed Godwits was also in the air.

And so were Shelducks, among a flock of Canada Geese.

Some Teal were preening.

A Ruff poked around in the mud next to a Lapwing.

Pied Wagtails are more at home on the mud than on the tarmac in Hyde Park.

A pair of Stonechats appeared, hard to see behind the reeds, but Tom got a good picture of the female.

There was a pair of Marsh Harriers. The female ranged widely over the reserve.

A male Kestrel hovered.

A female perched in a bush.

One of the Barn Owls was distantly visible looking out of the nest box.

A splendid cock Pheasant visited the bird table.

A small Marsh Frog lurked in a pool.