Saturday, 22 April 2017

A Magpie probed the bark of a chestnut tree for insects.

They are pairing up, and the female flutters her wings and calls to her mate to make him feed her, and thus show that he will be a reliable provider when she is on the nest.

Here a female chivvies her mate to bring a piece of wood to their nest.

Mistle Thrushes are nesting already. This one near the Dell paused in a tree for a moment before flying down to gather worms for the nestlings.

A Blackbird was already on the grass with a beakful of worms.

A Pied Wagtail at the Round Pond collected a good number of insects and flew away towards the Orangery. These birds like to nest in holes in old walls, and the rambling buildings of Kensington Palace provide plenty of sites.

A pair of Robins near the bridge came down again and again to collect pine nuts. They must have a nest nearby with hungry chicks to feed.

There are a lot of Dunnocks near Kensington Palace, mostly in the large hornbeam hedge between the palace and the Sunken Garden. But there is an exhibition nearby and a lot of people, and this bird had moved to the avenue of trained holly trees leading to the Orangery.

A Gadwall near the island was also catching insects.

The Mute Swan nesting in the reed bed near the Diana fountain stood up to turn over her five eggs.

The Egyptian Goose family at the Lido had moved on to the jetty to escape the crowds, but it was time to eat some grass so they came ashore.

The parents of the goslings on the Round Pond had left them on their own and were having a wash.

Sadly, two of the young ones have 'angel wing'. Virginia said that this pair have had affected offspring before. It is not clear to what extent the condition is hereditary, or how much it is caused by giving the young birds white bread while their wings are growing. Both may be a factor.

A Feral Pigeon enjoyed a shower in the marble fountain in the Italian Garden.

The bowl of the fountain is made in the form of a scallop shell, which explains the odd serrations at the front of the picture. It is also thickly encrusted with algae.

The south bank of the Serpentine was thronged with Carrion Crows squabbling and looning around.

The male Little Owl near the leaf yard came out of his hole several times in spite of the Saturday crowds.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Three Mandarin drakes were chasing each other around the plane tree near the Albert Memorial where the female is nesting. Two of them came to blows.

Mallard drakes at the east end of the Serpentine were also in an aggressive mood.

The Coots, for once, were quite peaceful. Here is one eating its mate's fleas, combining affection with nutrition.

A Treecreeper climbed an oak tree collecting insects for its brood.

A Pied Wagtail on the Round Pond chased a midge.

The Grey Wagtail which is now often seen at the Lido was working its way along the shore.

The Mute Swans nesting near the bridge have another egg.

But the egg that went missing from the nest several days ago was lying on the ground broken and empty. There has been no sign of a fox attack here. We have a nasty feeling that the eggs are being taken by rough sleepers in the park. This also apparently happened in the same place last year.

The Carrion Crows on the Parade Ground were frightened by the Royal Artillery's 41-gun salute for the Queen's birthday, and settled on the other side of the Serpentine. But this one stayed on the north shore to eat some rice.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull chased some Herring Gulls off his territory and came back to his mate on the Dell restaurant roof.

Tom sent me this interesting picture of the Green Woodpeckers mating in a plane tree on the path between Physical Energy and the Speke obelisk. We must keep an eye on their nest hole.

He also sent this fine picture of a Song Thrush.

The leaves are coming out on the Little Owls' chestnut tree near the leaf yard. Feeling more secure now there is a bit of cover, the male owl came out on to a branch.

A Great Tit on a lower branch was agitated by the owl, and chattered loudly.

A Robin sang on a copper beech in the Rose Garden.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

The park was full of birdsong, and for once the main sound was not the screeches of Rose-Ringed Parakeets. In the Rose Garden a Dunnock allowed a close-up ...

... and a Goldcrest wasn't too far up in a pine tree.

A Blackbird was looking for worms in a flower bed ...

... and so was a Mistle Thrush by the gate.

In Kensington Gardens a Chiffchaff came into view for a moment in a tree top ...

... and a Chaffinch watched an insect go by.

A Green Woodpecker searched for insects in the bark of a plane tree on the path between Physical Energy and the Speke obelisk. It is one of a pair nesting here.

On the jetty of the Lido, a Grey Wagtail and a Pied Wagtail stood side by side.

The male Little Owl near the leaf yard came out of the hole in the chestnut tree.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was hunting again near the Dell restaurant, but didn't catch anything while I was there.

The families of Egyptian Geese in Hyde Park and on the Round Pond were all in good order. This is Blondie's family.

The Mute Swans nesting at the east end of the Lido now have seven eggs. The male guarded them while the female went off to have a feed.

Virginia sent this splendid picture of a swan charging a rival.

She also found a new Coot family, on the solar panel platform on the Round Pond.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

A Green Woodpecker called from a treetop near the Albert Memorial. A pair bred here a couple of years ago.

For a change, it was the female Little Owl who came out of the chestnut tree near the leaf yard. She remained quite calm with several people looking at her.

Blackbirds are shy and hate being stared at and photographed. But they are also very keen on sultanas, and can be lured out with this bribe. They seem to realise at once that sultanas are edible and tasty, even if they haven't seen one before. Probably they smell the fruity fragrance.

A Blackcap sang near Peter Pan.

A pair of Long-Tailed Tits were catching insects in an oak.

This Great Crested Grebe on the Serpentine was also after insects, small midges on the water surface. You can see a couple at the far right of the picture.

The nesting Coot on the platform of Bluebird Boats was unfazed by a passing pedalo.

The family on the raft at the east end of the Serpentine were lined up waiting for a parent to return with food.

The one on the post at Peter Pan may be beginning to realise that this is not a good place to rear chicks.

But Blondie's goslings are now large enough to stop worrying about Herring Gulls.

The two little blonde Egyptians near the bridge were basking on the shore.

A Red Crested Pochard at the Dell restaurant was looking improbably bouffant.

But I don't think there is a word to describe the very odd hairstyle of a Mandarin. Thanks to Virginia for this picture of one preening on a willow overlooking the Long Water.