Thursday, 19 October 2017

The Grey Heron at the Dell restuarant caught and released a perch several times before deciding that it was too large to swallow. Perch have spiny dorsal fins and have to be swallowed head first, and you can see the heron trying to turn it round before giving up.

It ruffled its feathers in frustration.

On the other hand, the Black Swan's ruffled feathers are an ornament. They need careful preening.

Three teenage Mute Swans were also preening on the edge of the Serpentine. This is actually a brood of four, and the odd one had wandered off to join another four teenagers, who were with their parents. A few weeks ago this would have resulted in the intruder being angrily ejected, but now the parents have lost interest in their young, so they let it stay. The young swans will hang around their parents until the next nesting season.

The three Great Crested Grebe chicks at the bridge have had so much attention recently that we've overlooked the older ones from the nest on the island. Here is one, looking almost like an adult in winter plumage but retaining faint traces of stripes.

The pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull crept up to these Feral Pigeons on the roof of the Dell restaurant, but they stood their ground, knowing that they were safe if they stayed alert, and could simply drop off the edge if threatened. Perhaps his yawn expressed frustration.

Another Lesser Black-Back was eating something on the gravel bank in the Long Water. I thought this was pigeon killer number two, but the photograph shows that it's a different gull, and has found a dead fish.

Some Magpies were interested in a rubbish bin near the Rose Garden, but didn't seem to be going into it as they usually do. A closer look showed that the bin had been sealed off by putting a bag over the top (for some reason that makes sense to park keepers) and that rainwater had collected in the top, making a convenient drinking pool.

The rowan trees on Buck Hill were visisted by a Blackbird ...

... and a Rose-Ringed Parakeet.

We've had a video before of a Starling singing on one of the little ornamental conifers at the Lido restaurant, but this one was so bold that he allowed himself to be filmed in close-up.

There are miniature buckets on the tables containing dying cactuses. Evidently this one was infested with insects, as a Starling was probing it carefully.

The Little Owl at the leaf yard was perched outside her hole, fluffed up with annoyance because she had just been chased off her favourite branch by a Magpie.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

It rained for most of the morning. A Robin in the Rose Garden was looking wet and bedraggled.

A Magpie had had enough, and was sheltering under a table at the Lido restaurant.

But the weather didn't stop a Wren from singing on a twig near the Dell, where there is a colony of them.

At the bottom of the Dell waterfall, a pair of Blackbirds didn't feel wet enough, and decided to go bathing.

A Cormorant perversely tried to dry its wings in the rain.

When there are no people to feed the mob of Rose-Ringed Parakeets at the leaf yard, they go down on to the ground and eat dandelion leaves.

A young Black-Headed Gull scratched its chin.

The three young Great Crested Grebes have now started fishing for themselves, although their parents are still feeding them. One of them actually caught something, but I missed filming it. Between dives they practised the grebe head-shaking salute.

They were near the island, way out of their territory. One of the pair of adults from the island postured threateningly at them, but didn't go beyond that, as they are young and stripy and allowed a certain latitude.

The Black Swan sauntered over, rain-spattered but as elegant as ever.

A pair of Mallards were interested in something in a hole in the concrete edge of the Serpentine.

The white Mallard reached up for a tasty leaf on one of the rafts of water plants.

More Shovellers have arrived on the Long Water. I could see ten in all.

This is the first rabbit I've seen for months at the Henry Moore sculpture. They have had a terrible year. However, fresh droppings on the hill above show that there are still several of them.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Another cloud of sand spread across the sky in the middle of the day.

But there were moments of sunshine. A Mistle Thrush in a hawthorn tree on Buck Hill stared at the camera.

Underneath the tree, a Jay dug up a hazelnut.

At the bottom of the hill a Green Woodpecker was pecking in the grass. It stayed in the same place for several minutes. Perhaps it had found an ants' nest.

An even more severe stare from a Robin in the Rose Garden.

There are still enough flowers here to interest a Buff-Tailed Bumblebee.

A Coal Tit perched in front of red leaves at the bridge.

Another came to take food in the leaf yard.

So did a Nuthatch.

And here I am trying to take the previous two pictures despite interference. Thanks to Tom for this photograph.

A Magpie bathed in the Serpentine.

Another was at the Lido restaurant wondering whether it liked chocolate cake. Surprisingly, it didn't.

But some Starlings had no hesitation in descending on the leavings.

Others were preening on a bush, waiting for their chance of grabbing some leftovers from another table.

The Peregrine perched on the tower of the Household Cavalry barracks.

The pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull was enjoying a particularly bloody meal. Crows hung around just outside pecking distance, hoping for a chance ...

... which one of them got while the gull wasn't paying attention. It dragged the pigeon away and had a brief snack before the gull attacked it.

The Black Swan was hanging around with a teenage Mute Swan again.

Monday, 16 October 2017

The day started clear with sunshine, but gradually a brown haze spread over the sky, which you can see in this picture of a Pied Wagtail on the roof of the Serpentine Gallery.

Apparently it's caused by Hurricane Ophelia churning up sand from southern Europe and Africa. As I write this around 4.15pm, the sky is a dull ginger and it's quite dark.

The Black Swan, whom I didn't see yesterday, is still here. He was on the Long Water preening and flapping his unexpectedly white wings.

Later he came on to the Serpentine and, as usual, came over to be fed. He was annoyed by the other birds trying to eat his treat, so he came ashore for a second helping and made a defiant neck-stretching gesture at them.

You can see two Shovellers in the first picture of the Black Swan. There are still only three. The third one was at the Italian Garden. Somehow his shovelling action has blown a bubble.

A pair of Egyptian Geese were flying from tree to tree near the Round Pond, displaying and making a racket. To some extent they are prospecting for nest sites, but mostly it's a proclamation of territory.

The hopeless pair of Egyptians at the Henry Moore statue were also displaying and calling to each other, and seem about to nest again. Since they have never managed to raise a single gosling in the 14 years they have been here, it's wasted effort.

Cormorants were fishing near the bridge, catching small perch. These came up wrapped in a massive bundle of weed with had to be separated and spat out.

One of them preened on a post.

The second pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull has not been in his usual place near the Triangle car park for several days. I found him on the edge of the Round Pond. He has been seen eating a pigeon here.

There were Blackbirds eating fruit in the rowan trees on Buck Hill, but no sign of a Mistle Thrush. I've only seen or heard a few of these in the past few days.

The Little Owl at the leaf yard was in the same place, and this picture is almost the same as yesterday's. But it's always a pleasure to see her.

On warm days at lunchtime, the Lido restaurant is overrun with Starlings trying to grab food off the tables, to the exasperation of the staff. I could see them glaring at this kind person attracting even more of them.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Jays are coming out to be fed again after their autumn task of burying acorns and nuts for the winter. This one was near the Albert Memorial.

The admirable woman who supplies and fills the feeder in the Rose Garden (I don't know her name) has replaced it yet again after it was stolen, and birds are coming back to the bush where it hangs. This is one of the pair of Coal Tits who nest in a nearby copper beech.

A Robin waited for its turn.

This is one of another pair of Coal Tits at the bridge, who will come to take food from the hand of people that have learnt to trust.

The Goldcrests were bouncing around in the yew tree in the Dell. They are not at all shy, but still hard to photograph because they tend to stay in the shade and move quickly.

A Rose-Ringed Parakeet was in the same tree eating berries.

A Blackbird visited one of the rowan trees on Buck Hill.

There are three rowans here, plus a very small one which grew back after the original tree died and was cut down. It looks healthy enough but the old roots are heavily infested with Honey Fungus, and probably it won't survive. Let's hope this doesn't spread to the other trees or to the rowan saplings recently planted on the other side of the path.

The Little Owl at the leaf yard was in her usual place.

Blondie and her mate on the edge of the Serpentine were having a preen and going through the ritual of agreeing to take off together.

A Grey Heron and a Cormorant looked uneasy together on the posts near the bridge.

A Cormorant enjoyed a tumultuous wash and a good flap on the Long Water.

A Moorhen prospecting for small invertebrates on one of the Italian Garden fountains didn't seem to mind that it was getting drenched.

A Shoveller found that the edible creatures in the water were a bit below the surface, and had to adapt his technique for scooping them up.