Saturday, 3 December 2016

The Little Owls near the Henry Moore sculpture seem to have moved house. They are still in the group of four tall lime trees, but now in the left front one as you look up the hill from the path.

You can't get a closer view than this because of the angle, and also because these owls are shy and don't like being stared at.

The female of the pair near the Albert Memorial was looking out of the usual hole in the oak tree. The almost white background is caused by the sun shining into another hole in the top of the branch.

There was a Redwing in the rowan tree on Buck Hill ...

... as well as a Song Thrush ...

... and plenty of Mistle Thrushes making the most of the remaining fruit.

A Coal Tit stared at the camera from a twig in the leaf yard.

There were a few people on the terrace of the Dell restaurant, but the resident Grey Heron had given up trying to get food from them and was staring intently at the edge of one of the reed rafts, waiting for a careless fish to come out from shelter.

A Carrion Crow had done better and won a piece of bread, and was dunking it at the top of the Dell waterfall.

The white Mallard and his male friend cruised up to see if anyone was going to feed them.

His mate was taking a break from their company.

A Shoveller was lit by the low sun on the Round Pond. This picture was taken at 3 pm, which is almost evening at this time of year.

The pair of Gadwalls were back in the Italian Garden pond.

A Cormorant at the island is already back in breeding plumage, with a white patch on its side and bristly white feathers on its head. These odd-looking ornaments seem to be irresistible to Cormorants of the opposite sex.

Many of the big gulls have fixed stations around the lake, and regard them as their territory and will chase off invaders. This Herring Gull owns the handrail halfway along the Lido swimming area. It's a slippery perch, and the bird often loses its footing and has to flap to keep its balance.

Friday, 2 December 2016

There are still quite a few Cormorants on the lake, though the number is falling as fish become scarcer. They were fishing near the bridge. This one made a tremendous leap out of the water on to a post, falling off once and trying again successfully.

Some Mute Swans came hastily under the bridge from the Long Water, as the dominant male cruised up behind with wings raised in threat.

A small group of Red-Crested Pochards were dozing next to the island.

A pair of Great Crested Grebes were alternately fishing and saluting each other on the Serpentine.

One of them caught a fish.

A Moorhen climbed to the top of a reed raft at the east end of the lake.

Whatever these shaggy plants are, they are quite stiff. A Grey Heron, which weighs about 3 lb, can stand on them too.

The usual Lesser Black-Backed Gull was enjoying a early lunch of a late pigeon.

A Black-Headed Gull was struggling with a less appetising meal, a piece of sliced bread that was so stale that it was completely rigid.

A Wood Pigeon was bathing in the little pool at the top of the Dell waterfall.

A Song Thrush visited the rowan tree on Buck Hill ...

... joining the more usual Mistle Thrushes ...

... and a solitary Ring-Necked Parakeet.

The female Little Owl at the Albert Memorial had come out on to a branch of the oak tree.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Another cold day, and the morning was misty and dark. I took some dreadfully black photographs, and then the mist cleared and the sun came out, and I retraced my steps and tried to get better shots. So today's pictures are a mixture.

At least on the darkest days you can see Mute Swans and hi-vis jackets. The tone of this picture has not been altered.

Most of the Long Water was frozen, and there were Black-Headed Gulls all over the ice.

But a clear patch on the east side gave the resident swan family a chance to feed ...

... and Great Crested Grebes and Shovellers were going about their business as usual.

When seriously frosty weather threatens, the grebes fly away to the upper reaches of the Thames, which never freezes. But this time they sense that the frost won't last long, and have stayed put. From observation over past years they seem to be very accurate forecasters.

Two visits to the rowan tree on Buck Hill produced dark pictures of a Song Thrush ...

... and a Magpie ...

... and sunlit ones of a Mistle Thrush ...

... a Blackbird ....

... and a Jay.

At the bottom of the hill, a Robin surveyed its territory from a broken teazle stem.

The female Little Owl looked out from the oak tree near the Albert Memorial.

Her foot is raised because she had just finished scratching her ear, but at the 1/250 second exposure necessary for the dim light you can't capture movement.

The young Grey Heron at the Dell restaurant was being mobbed and looked up, squawking with exasperation. 'Will no one rid me of these turbulent gulls?'

Whatever you think of Grey Squirrels, sometimes you just have to take a picture. She was eating rose hips in the Rose Garden.

There was a curious incident at the Triangle car park. An ambassador was returning from presenting his credentials at Buckingham Palace -- you can see his hat in the middle of the picture. But when his procession got to the narrow passage beside the car park, there was another ambassador coming the other way, so he had to wait. This is my first, and perhaps only, picture of an ambassadorial traffic jam.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

A small winter extra:

Wet footprints of early morning bathers at the Lido frozen solid and still there at 2.30 pm.

A visitor from Qatar leaves a comment on a table at the Lido restaurant: لندن برد, landan bard, 'London cold.'

There were patches of ice on the Long Water, and a Coot was having difficulty keeping its balance.

A Teal drake turned up at the east end of the Serpentine, the first we've seen since January. It might even be the same one. It was looking a bit dishevelled because it had been washing.

A Mallard was in mid-wash ...

... and so was a Cormorant.

A Tufted Duck had finished, and was having a flap to settle its feathers.

Two Mute Swans were waiting to be served at the Triangle snack bar.

A Carrion Crow had found a bag with the remnants of a snack in it, and was shaking it to get the food out.

The second pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull, the one with pinkish legs ...

... and the third one, with pale yellow legs ...

... were disputing the ownership of a pigeon that one of them had killed.

The male Little Owl in the oak tree near the Albert Memorial had come out to the front of the hole to enjoy the sunshine.

A Coal Tit came down to feed at the leaf yard.

Some Long-Tailed Tits passed through the trees overhead.

A Mistle Thrush was reaching for fruit in the rowan tree on Buck Hill.

A Blackbird had found a more convenient twig for her meal.