Monday, 29 August 2016

On a sunny Bank Holiday Monday the park was thronged with people, and the most of birds were staying in the background. But the male Little Owl in the chestnut tree near the leaf yard was perched imperturbably on his usual branch in the morning ...

... and when I came back four hours later he was still there.

The two young Great Crested Grebes on the Serpentine were fishing side by side again.

They seem too young to be taking care of themselves, but they were not calling for their parents, and were taking it in turns to dive.

On the Long Water, a parent of another family had caught a fish and was carrying it around looking for a chick to feed it to. For once, there were no chicks in sight.

After a couple of minutes the grebe ate the fish itself.

Even at a very early age, Moorhens feel the need to climb around on plants just for the fun of it.

The Mallard drakes are beginning to regrow their breeding plumage, and have just one thing on their minds.

The Red-Crested Pochards are still in full eclipse, but in any case they behave much more decorously.

An adult female Mandarin came near the shore at Peter Pan. She looks almost exactly like the familiar teenager, but her wings are longer.

A flock of Long-Tailed Tits moved along the edge of the Long Water.

And a party of Mistle Thrushes visited the rowan trees in Buck Hill.

In the grass a few yards away there is a fair-sized round hole, and there is a wasps' nest in it. The origin of the hole is a mystery. It is a long way from the place where the rabbits assemble at the bottom of the hill.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

It was a pleasure to see one of the Little owlets again near the Albert Memorial. It was looking almost completely grown up, with adult white spots on its head replacing the plain juvenile plumage.

Some of the young birds seem to be a bit behind schedule. Not far off, a young Carrion Crow was still begging for food from a parent.

And a young Blackbird near the Italian Garden was doing the same.

One of the three young Mute Swans on the Long Water displayed a pair of well grown wings. It's almost ready to start trying to fly. A couple of weeks of practice runs will be needed before it can get off the water.

The Black Swan's adopted cygnet is younger, and its flight feathers aren't fully out yet.

There had been an incursion of Mute Swans on the Long Water, and the resident pair hadn't yet got around to chasing them back under the bridge. The Black Swan amused himself by sparring with a couple of invaders

There were young Great Crested Grebes all over the Serpentine, and it was no longer possible to tell which ones belong to which family. Two quite large ones were away from their parents, practising fishing together.

This is just an ordinary Moorhen in the Italian Garden, but I do like watching the way they climb about and balance on stems, just for the fun of it.

This young Grey Heron has been hanging around the Dell restaurant for several weeks, getting closer and closer to the terrace, and I think it is nerving itself to start raiding tables.

The adult heron that used to do this was frightened away by someone, and has still not returned.

We haven't had a picture of a Pied Wagtail for a while, so here is one on the edge of the Serpentine.

There was just one Mistle Thrush in the rowan trees on Buck Hill.

The Robins have started singing again after their few weeks of silence in late summer. This means that the pairs have separated and each one, male and female, is establishing an individual territory that it will defend until the next breeding season when they pair up again.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

This is the first day for some time that I haven't been able for find any of the Little Owls. I think that the owlets near the Albert Memorial have now finally been thrown out by the parents, and the one I heard calling yesterday, in a different tree from the usual close group, was complaining about being ignored. The parents, their duty done for the year, may now be anywhere in the general region.

A pair of Jackdaws were perched in the maple tree near the leaf yard that the Little Owls here often use.

But at least there are several families of Great Crested Grebe chicks to enjoy. This is the one from the island, today seen at the far east end of the Serpentine.

The Coots from the boathouse were diving to bring up food for their three chicks.

These two Moorhen chicks in the Italian Garden pond were pulling up strands of algae and sifting through them. Both have found some small black invertebrate.

A Grey Heron on the Long Water nearby was also carefully sorting out a very small fish from a strand of algae that had come up with it.

For those who were worried in yesterday's comments that the dead Lesser Black-Backed Gull seen near the boathouses might be our own pigeon killer, here is a picture of the pair alive and well and in their usual place on the Dell restaurant roof.

They had eaten as much as they wanted of their latest kill, and a Carrion Crow was standing possessively on the remains.

I couldn't find the Tufted duckling today. But when it's on the island with its mother it's often invisible from the shore.

The white Mallard drake at the east end of the Serpentine was flapping his wings. Although he is not an albino, he is at a slight disadvantage compared to normal coloured ducks because white feathers are less strong than dark ones, and liable to fray.

The Black Swan was on the gravel bank on the Long Water.

The adopted cygnet was resting a short distance away.

The white-faced Blackbird was in one of her calmer moods, and came out to take a piece of biscuit. I've been trying to make friends with her for months, but sometimes she just flies away when I approach.

A Starling touched down neatly to join a group on the weathervane of the Lido restaurant.

Cormorants' feathers have quite a beautiful pattern when viewed in the right light.

Friday, 26 August 2016

The Great Crested Grebes from the nest near Peter Pan, who have one chick, had come over to the shallow water just offshore from the statue. The chick was begging loudly ...

... and its parents were diving to get fish for it ...

... but the chick was quite adept enough to catch a damselfly by itself. This last picture was taken by Tom Bell.

Eventually the peace was disturbed by the arrival of the pair from the bridge.

They were followed by the other pair from the reed bed, and there was a good deal of territorial posturing before both tired of the game and went away, leaving the original pair still in place.

The Black Swan was also throwing his weight around on the Long Water, threatening some Mute Swans that had come under the bridge from the Serpentine.

This attracted the attention of the dominant Mute Swan, who arrived in full threat posture and sent them all packing.

There were two Kingfishers on the Long Water, chasing each other -- are they mates or rivals? One of them perched briefly on a post across the lake from Peter Pan. Again, this fine picture is by Tom.

Also at Peter Pan, a young Black-Headed Gull was playing with a leaf.

The Tufted duckling was out on the Serpentine with its mother, bustling around and diving and looking noticeably bigger than when last seen.

One of the Moorhens in the Italian Garden was having a shower under the fountain. You would think this deluge was too much for a smallish bird, but the Moorhen seemed to be enjoying it.

A flock of Mistle Thrushes visited the rowan trees at the top of Buck Hill.

None of the Little Owls were visible when I first went by but, as I was going home past the Albert Memorial, I heard one of the owlets calling.

This was lucky, as they have been silent for several days and their departure seems imminent. Soon it will be quite hard to get pictures of any of them.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

The Tufted duckling hasn't been visible for several days, but I think this is it with its mother, photographed on the island from the opposite shore 200 yards away. The plastic fence makes it even harder to see what's going on. You can't even see what's there with binoculars, and the only thing to do is to take pictures of where they might be, and blow them up.

A Magpie perched on the edge of the little stream in the Dell, idly watching the ripples made by the big carp just under the surface.

Its presence had driven the Moorhen family up the waterfall, where all five of the chicks were swimming around -- I could only get four into this picture.

Then have no difficulty walking up waterfalls with their agility and huge feet. But, as this picture of a Moorhen chick in the Italian Garden shows, its remarkable that they don't get their toes tangled when they run.

Here are two of the new Coot chick from the boathouse, bizarre looking creatures but irresistible to Coot parents, which feed them devotedly.

Great Crested Grebe chicks are beautiful from the moment they hatch.

Young Starlings go through an awkward in-between phase when changing from their juvenile brown to adult plumage. This one was waiting in the bushes at the Lido restaurant, hoping for the chance to do a bit of scavenging.

The young Greylags are still with their Canada Goose foster parents. And they are still having a hard time from the gander of the other pair of Canadas that goes around this this family. He chased one of them away, but it's used to him and came back immediately.

The lone Mute cygnet was on its own again, with no trace of its Black Swan guardian. No one I spoke to had seen the Black Swan today. Yesterday the two were reunited in the late afternoon.

The male Little Owl near the Albert Memorial stared down through a screen of oak twigs.

One of the adults near the leaf yard -- from this angle I can't tell which -- was in the field maple tree on the edge of the leaf yard. This awkward shot was taken from almost directly below.

The large and noisy family of Wrens in the Dell are hard to see, but occasionally you get a glimpse of one hopping around under the plants.