Sunday, 18 February 2018

A Little Grebe under the willow tree by the bridge was disturbed by something, and skittered across to the other side of the lake.

The Great Crested Grebes at the island have returned to their nest site and are rebuilding the nest in the vague sloppy way of grebes. I still don't think they're serious about nesting.

But the Coots are, and well built nests are going up all round the lake. This one is attached with interlocked twigs to a branch of a fallen tree in the Long Water.

This Coot has taken advantage of a hole in the netting around a reed bed, and has made a nest mainly of reeds.

This nest is on the side of the artificial island in the Long Water made for the Mute Swans to nest in. The Coot struggled to fit a very long twig into it.

The lower of the two Grey Herons' nests on the Serpentine island is permanently occupied by a sitting bird whose head can just be seen.

Nothing can be seen in the upper nest. Until recently there was always a heron standing on it. There may now be a sitting heron in that too, invisible from the ground.

The Mandarin drakes at Peter Pan were unaccompanied by females. This may mean that both their mates are nesting in tree holes.

David Element captured this photograph of the Red Crested Pochard drake on the Long Water in a competitive display flight with Mallard drakes around a female.

It takes two Carrion Crows to harass a Grey Heron properly, one in front of it to distract it while the other creeps up behind and pulls its tail. Playing the game alone is too dangerous. This crow called to its mate for help, but the other crow was busy and didn't come.

This picture of a male Sparrowhawk on a tree by the Long Water is by Jayanta Bordoloi.

And Tom took this one of a Great Spotted Woodpecker in the leaf yard.

Between the Serpentine Gallery and the Physical Energy statue there were several Goldfinches pecking at seed heads fallen from a tree.

A Mistle Thrush searched for worms and insects in the grass.

There were still plenty of Redwings on the Parade Ground, some on the ground and others chattering loudly in the trees.

The Little Owl near the Henry Moore sculpture was in front of her hole in the lime tree, where the branch provides a convenient platform.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

The female Little Owl near the Albert Memorial had another annoying visitor, a grey squirrel.

Yesterday, as darkness was falling, Tom got a picture of the pair coming out for an evening's hunting.

The owl near the Henry Moore sculpture looked out of her hole in the lime tree.

The owls at the leaf yard seem to have come together again for nesting, but all that could be seen today was a pair of yellow eyes looking out of the narrow slit that is the entrance to their hole in the chestnut tree. They seem to be more nervous than usual at the moment. Yesterday Tom got this picture of the male owl as he was about to rush into the hole.

He also photographed a Robin singing on the same tree.

Nearby on the Vista there was the sound of a Green Woodpecker drumming. He was unphotographable behind twigs, so here's a last picture by Tom of the female on the grass yesterday.

A Song Thrush was singing in the Flower Walk.

This would have been a video, but just as I started filming a couple of women stopped next to me and started talking loudly and drearily about dog food. They eventually went away, but then so did the thrush.

Just along the path, a Wren was hopping around under a tree.

The Redwings are still on the Parade Ground.

A Greylag Goose did a somersault during an enthusiastic wash on the Serpentine.

Several Mute Swans were having a communal washing session, each finishing with a flap to settle their wing feathers.

The nest that the Great Crested Grebes were trying to build against one of the plant baskets on the island has been taken over by Coots. Using their superior nest bulding skills, they have attached it firmly to the wire mesh with knobbly twigs, and decorated it with a bright purple crisp packet.

One of the foxes at the Vista was sunbathing on the bank.

An early Red Admiral butterfly drank nectar from a blossoming tree in the Rose Garden.

On the same tree, here is the first hoverfly I've seen this year. I'm informed that it's Eristalis tenax.

Friday, 16 February 2018

A Grey Heron ate an apple core, something that none of us had seen before. It had some difficulty swallowing it, and took several drinks from the lake to ease it down.

The female Little Owl near the Albert Memorial was in her usual place in the oak tree basking in the sunlight, but Alastair James got a much better picture yesterday, of the pair side by side in the hole.

This evening Tom saw the male owl in a nearby tree, but it was too dark for a good picture.

The female owl near the Henry Moore sculpture was also visible in her lime tree.

This is Neil's video of him feeding Great Tits and one of the Nuthatches at the leaf yard, followed by a Starling singing, first at normal speed and then in 8x slow motion, in which the Starling's dinosaur roars are remarkable.

There were two Goldcrests in the yew tree near the bridge, and this one in the nursery enclosure where the greenhouses are.

It was also a good day for seeing Wrens, with one at the Magazine Gate and another on a tree near the bridge.

A Blue Tit looked very fine on a branch in the leaf yard.

So did a Starling in its wonderful brocade plumage.

There were three Pied Wagtails running around at the bottom of the Parade Ground.

One of the pair of Mistle Thrushes near the Serpentine Gallery perched in a tree.

A Little Grebe was fishing under the willow next to the bridge.

A pair of Gadwalls were quietly elegant in the sunshine ...

... which also brought of the green iridescence on the head of a Tufted Duck.

A pair of Egyptian Geese did a bit of maintenance on the edge of the Serpentine.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

The Little Owl near the Albert Memorial was annoyed when a Rose-Ringed Parakeet peered into her hole through the crack in the top of the branch.

A Treecreeper ran up the next tree.

The owl near the Henry Moore sculpture came out of her hole in the lime tree.

On the grass below, the local pair of Magpies were getting together before nesting. They usually nest in a tree conveniently next to the path, so that you can get photographs, and I shall be keeping an eye on them.

The Robin in the corkscrew hazel in the Flower Walk got a golden halo from the gilded statue of Prince Albert in the background. It came to my hand and took several pine nuts.

There was just one Redwing on the Parade Ground.

A pair of Great Crested Grebes at the island were making a nest against one of the wire baskets. This is not a good place, as a grebe's poor building skills are not up to attaching the nest properly to the wire mesh.

One of the two pairs of Mandarins was visible at Peter Pan. Here is the quietly elegant female, who makes her gaudy mate look thoroughly over the top.

A Grey Heron had a face-off with the two dominant Mute Swans. It passed off peacefully.

The usual swans were taking their ease on one of the rafts at the east end of the Serpentine.

But their time here is limited, because the rafts are being dismantled and removed. These rafts could have been a success if the park staff had bothered to strengthen the fences around them to keep swans out -- simply wiring on lengths of 2 by 2 timber along the top edge would have been enough -- so now these expensive things are being junked. This is the usual story in the park: a pricey project subsequently neglected.

The rafts are being brought ashore and sawn up. A Pied Wagtail was hunting insects in the debris.

At the Lido, a young Herring Gull struggled to keep its balance on a buoy. They are too heavy, and make the buoy revolve.

A Lesser Black-Backed Gull languidly stretched one of its long wings.

One of the pair of Moorhens in the Dell was having a bath.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

A red heart for Valentine's Day. This pleasing picture was taken by Virginia.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull, not seen much recently, was back with his mate on their usual spot near the Dell restaurant. He is at the back of this picture.

There was in interesting comment on the film about this bird on YouTube: 'The city of Barcelona is full of gulls specialised in hunting and feeding on pigeons. As people are getting more responsible with their waste the gulls are adapting to a food source that is abundant in the urban area.'

The second pigeon eater has also not been in his territory near the Triangle car park for several days, but he has also returned.

A Common Gull pattered its feet to bring up worms in the enclosure of the Diana fountain. Why do Herring Gulls and Common Gulls (and even, seen once, a Black-Headed Gull) do this dance, but Lesser Black-Backed Gulls never do it?

The Grey Heron in the lower nest on the island is now sitting, a sign that eggs have been laid. Herons share the duty of incubating the eggs and bringing food for the young.

The heron in the upper nest is still standing up, but with luck there should be a reason to sit down soon.

The white Mallard drake, his mate and the spare normal drake fed together near the Dell restaurant. These trios of two males and a female are quite normal with Mallards, and don't usually cause conflict.

Here's another threesome at the top of the Dell waterfall.

And the Red-Crested Pochard on the Long Water has somehow managed to enter a similar arrangement with two Mallards.

There was a Peregrine on the Household Cavalry barracks tower.

The Redwings are still on the Parade Ground.

They were joined by a Pied Wagtail.

Great Tits start singing quite early in the year, but it's unusual to hear one in full song in the middle of February, especially on a dull chilly day.