Monday, 18 June 2018

The male Little Owl at the leaf yard made a welcome reappearance on the chestnut tree, after several days out of sight. He had his back to the light, but never mind, it was good to see him.

It was quite a hot day, and a Carrion Crow at the edge of the Serpentine was panting to cool down.

A Magpie sunbathed near the Henry Moore sculpture.

A Mallard on the Long Water tried to lead her ducklings up into the Italian Garden, which involves a leap of several feet straight up, obviously impossible for tiny flightless ducklings. But not obvious to the mother, who went up and down several times, calling for them to follow.

Yet another family of Greylag Geese has appeared on the Serpentine, though there are only two goslings.

The Egyptian Geese who are often seen under the sculpture have seven new goslings. They took them down to the gravel bank.

There are now only four adult Egyptians on the Round Pond, the very aggressive pair and the pair with seven goslings. They still have seven, thanks to there being few gulls on the pond -- in fact there were none at all this morning, which is unusual.

The notorious pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull floated slowly over a Coot family.

He swooped ...

... and was fended off by an indignant parent.

The Coots nesting under the willow tree next to the bridge have four chicks. Three were with one parent ...

... and the fourth had managed to climb on to a branch where the other parent was preening.

Coot chicks are not very good climbers, unlike Moorhens which can get up anything from an early age. Once there was a Moorhen nest inside the Serpentine outflow, under the weir which is at least three feet high. Somehow the chicks managed to get up the weir and on to the lake. This was before the sloping plank was installed in a vain effort to save the Coot chicks which keep getting swept away.

One of the Moorhens in the Italian Garden fountain leapt nimbly over the fence into the clump of plants where the chicks were hidden.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

The first returning Black-Headed Gull landed on a post at the Vista. It's a year old, still with traces of brown juvenile plumage but with the dark brown head of breeding plumage ('black-headed' is a misnomer). 

Their annual migration may be long -- some come here from Finland. Or short -- some go no farther than the Pitsea landfill site just east of London.

The notorious pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull hasn't been seen much recently, but today he was in his usual place near the Dell restaurant. All the Feral Pigeons here know about him now, and gave him a wide berth. He's still killing pigeons and I often see the remains, but no longer here.

The Mute Swans on the Serpentine have taken to sitting on the north bank near the bridge. This was already the favourite place of the Coots, so there was a contrast of black and white.

A little farther along, the four youngest cygnets were being guarded by their mother.

The Canada Geese with 15 goslings have been taking them all round the lake. They know that people in pedalos often feed them, so today they came to the place where the boats are moored. Finding nothing, they went into the middle of the lake and at once struck lucky.

The goslings are now beginning to grow their adult, or at least teenage, plumage. You can see black tail feathers, and the blue wrappings of emerging wing feathers.

The Canadas who come to the park every June to moult include this one with a speckled white head. Some of the Canada-Gretlag hybrids have speckled heads, but this one is a pure Canada.

Two families of Greylags grazed behind the Lido.

Mallard drakes play no part in the upbringing of ducklings and may even attack them, so if one gets too close the mother sends him packing.

A Grey Heron looked askance at two Gadwalls that were disturbing its fishing.

The two Great Crested Grebe chicks, which have been separated recently and fed by with one parent each, were together in the middle of the lake, waiting for a fish to be delivered.

The Coot family from the nest at the Dell restaurant went along the edge of the terrace, hoping to be thrown scaps by diners.

This female Blackbird often comes to the little pool in the Dell to bathe. Today she just had a quick dip to help with preening.

A male Blackbird paused with a worm before carrying it off to the a nest near Queen's Gate.

A young Long-Tailed Tit stared curiously at the camera.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

The cygnets of the dominant Mute Swan pair on the Long Water are now five weeks old, and are beginning to get quite large. While their mother looked after them, their father kept a lookout.

The Canada Goose family with 15 goslings made a beeline for someone who was feeding the birds.

The Bar-Headed Goose from St James's Park will be with us for several weeks, as it has started moulting and won't be able to fly till it has its new wing feathers. Many geese choose to moult on the Serpentine, but it seems odd that this one has left its relatives, who are perfectly safe on the St James's Park lake.

Egyptian goslings have a tendency to sprawl with their legs sticking out.

The Mallard on the Serpentine still has her three ducklings, and they are visibly larger.

It was changeover time on the Great Crested Grebes' nest in the fallen poplar tree in the Long Water.

Only a few yards away another pair were bringing weed to build up their nest attached to a submerged branch. It has been here for several days, but I think the soggy structure is too weak to be used, and it constantly disintegrates.

A Coot examined a rope and a buoy in the ever present hope of being able to build a nest on them.

On the nest under the balcony of the Dell restaurant, a Coot bought the menu to its five chicks so that they could know what scraps they might be getting later.

A Moorhen chick stood on a water lily leaf in the Italian Garden pond. The others were hidden in a clump of plants.

The Herring Gulls have taken to hitching lifts on pedalos. It allows them to search for food without stirring a wing.

The pair of Carrion Crows near the Henry Moore sculpture have two young ones. One parent is on the right.

People bring apples to the park to feed the Rose-Ringed Parakeets. A Blackbird was very glad to finish off the discarded remains of one.

This fledgling Great Tit couldn't see its parents, so it just cheeped occasionally. When one appeared, the chick would beg loudly to be fed and flutter its wings.

A patch of bramble flowers near the bridge attracted Honeybees and a pair of White-Tailed Bumblebees. For some reason, White-Tailed Bumblebees are much commoner than Buff-Tailed this year. Last year it was the opposite.

In the fountain in the Rose Garden, a female Emperor dragonfly laid eggs on the iron cover of the drain. Their normal place is at the waterline of reed stems and partly submerged twigs, and they see anything roughly like that as suitable.

The fishing season has started. It might as well be done in comfort.

Friday, 15 June 2018

The Moorhens' nest improbably sited at the top of a hawthorn tree on the Dell restaurant terrace has chicks in it. It's almost impossible to see anything through the leaves, but you can just see a chick on the right.

Another very difficult nest to see and photograph is just round the corner of the waterfront at Peter Pan. I hadn't realised that there is a fairly large chick here till one of the parents arrived to feed it.

The Moorhens in the Italian Garden were keeping their chicks inside a clump of plants. This involved leaping over the fence to feed them, but agile Moorhens take that kind of thing in their considerable stride.

I hope the netting won't be a problem as the chicks grow larger. A few years ago a Coot chick got stuck in the net, which at that time was made of wire mesh, and had to be rescued with wire cutters.

The Coots' nest on the edge of the Serpentine at the Lido restaurant remains a going concern. I think the birds might just get away with nesting in this silly place.

The wire baskets of plants around the island provide a safe playground for Coot chicks. These baskets have not been a success as planters, as most of the plants have died and no one has thought of replanting them, but they make a haven for water birds.

At the other end of the island, a Coot was adding a feather to its nest. The nest has been built up considerably since they recaptured it from the Great Crested Grebes.

The grebes' nest in the reed bed on the Long Water doesn't have many reed stems in its construction, and is mostly made of the conventional twigs and weed. In reed beds elsewhere, grebes make good nests entirely from reeds. But the beds on the lake are only a few years old, and the local grebes haven't got the idea yet.

The Canada Geese with 15 goslings came on to the Long Water and  try to land at the Vista to crop the grass. But the two smallest goslings couldn't get up the kerb, so their parents abandoned the idea and returned to the lake.

It was a bad idea to come to the Vista anyway. The dominant Mute Swans with their cygnets were just across the lake, and they have a peculiar hatred for Canada Geese and often attack them for no reason.

Note another foolishly sited Coot nest in front of the gravel bank.

The Mallard I filmed yesterday on the Serpentine has kept her three chicks from the gulls for another day, and they were eating water weed at the island.

A Gadwall drake looked quietly elegant in the shallow water at Peter Pan.

A young Blue Tit near the bridge fluttered its wings to get its parents to feed it.

A Honeybee climed into a flower to get at the nectar.

A Greenbottle fly glinted gold in the sunlight.

A patch of flowers at the edge of the pool in the Dell was constantly visited by Common Blue Damselflies. They were not interested in the flowers, but in catching the insects attracted to the flowers.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

There are three new broods of Mallard ducklings: in one of the Italian Garden fountains, in the Long Water under the balustrade of the garden, and beside the Serpentine.

The first set are in the same pond as the new Moorhen family. The Moorhen chicks were wandering among the water lily leaves, being fed by their parents.

But when the Mallard approached with a determined look in her eye, they fled.

The Moorhens in the Dell are comfortably established on their nest under the waterfall.

One of the Great Crested Grebe chicks from the nest on the island is already starting to look for fish, but it will be at least a month before it can catch anything. After a while it spotted a parent and started begging.

One of the Mute Swan families was resting comfortably on the path near the bridge, ignoring the passing humans.

The two Canada--Greylag hybrid geese who are certainly siblings are now grounded, waiting for their wing feathers to regrow.

Some of the Greylag families were near the island. They seemed unalarmed by a Grey Heron in their midst.

The young heron from the island was fishing under the tree where it was hatched.

This young Herring Gull is in its second summer, beginning to grow adult pale grey feathers on its back.

A young Pied Wagtail preened on the terrace of the Dell restaurant.

The young ones are much less shy than adults, and when I found it later hunting along the edge of the Serpentine it came right up to me.

A young Great Tit waited for its parents to bring it food.

I've just got my good lens back from being serviced, and can take proper photographs of insects again. So here are some.

A pair of Common Blue Damselflies mated on a grass stem. It's a long and complicated business.

There was a Red-Eyed Damselfly on a patch of weed on the Serpentine.

A White-Tailed Bumblebee collected nectar from an equally hairy lamb's-ears flower.