Friday, 18 August 2017

A Mallard had three ducklings on the solar cell platform in the Round Pond.

Two of the Moorhen chicks at the bridge climbed around on the wire baskets.

One of the parents was preening on a post.

A Black-Headed Gull was trying to walk along the chain between the posts. It was not nearly as good at doing this as a Moorhen, and lost its balance and had to fly off.

The CD bird scarers are not having much effect on the Herring Gulls.

But gulls are not known for their obedience.

Thanks to TinĂºviel for sending a link to this pleasing picture.

The young Great Crested Grebes from the nest on the island gave their parents a moment of peace.

A Grey Heron was sitting down on the grass under the Henry Moore sculpture with its long legs stretched out in front of it.

A Wren was hopping around in a yew tree near the bridge.

A Comma butterfly basked in the lower branches of an oak.

The female Little Owl at the leaf yard was enjoying the sunshine while it lasted.

It started raining.

Afterwards, some Greylag Geese enjoyed the fresh rainwater in a puddle. They much prefer this to the water in the lake, which comes from a borehole and is very hard.

This is one of the Greylag teenagers, now adult size but with a distinctly juvenile, fresh minted look. Young Greylags don't have a white line along the lower edge of their folded wings.

This mushroom, a little under 4 inches across, was growing near the Blushers I saw yesterday. I think it's a Russula species, possibly R. emetica, 'The Sickener'.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

There has been another arrival of Red Crested Pochards on the Long Water, all drakes -- and all, of course, in eclipse and looking like females apart from their red bills and eyes.

A Mute Swan came down on the Serpentine and waterskied to a halt.

A pair of swans were preening on the Serpentine. Swans have the most feathers of any bird, in some species as many as 25,000, and these need constant attention.

One of the young Great Crested Grebes from the island was exercising a pair of quite well developed wings. It will be able to fly soon. Grebes have small wings for their size and need to fly at high speed to stay up, which is why their takeoff run is such a long and frantic affair.

The Moorhen chicks at the bridge are finding most of their own food, but are always pleased to accept something from a parent.

A Blue Tit in the Rose Garden had found some small white larvae on a twig, and was devouring them.

A Dunnock had also found a small white object, probably a seed from the bird feeder spilt by the enthusiastic rummaging of the tits. Dunnocks never seem to go on the feeder, and are almost always seen on the ground.

The racing pigeon, not seen for a few days, was also back under the feeder.

A Blackbird had found something more substantial, a worm under the railings.

A flock of Long-Tailed Tits was working its way along the edge of the Long Water.

Starlings were playing on the weathervane of the Lido restaurant. It also provides a vantage point for raids on the outside tables.

The female Little Owl at the leaf yard looked down from her new favourite branch.

There was a stand of mushrooms in the patch of scrub east of the Albert Memorial Little Owl tree. They looked like Blushers, Amanita rubescens, which are edible and good, and like Blushers, they stained dull red when bruised (hence the name). But they lacked the noticeable ring and volva (sheath at base) of an Amanita species, so I left them alone. Even with the real Blusher you have to be very careful, as most Amanitas are poisonous and some are deadly.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

A Grey Wagtail was working its way down the shore at the Lido restaurant. It found a small insect in a patch of algae.

A Long-Tailed Tit preened on a branch beside the Long Water.

The Dunnock in the Rose Garden found what I think was a garishly dyed yellow sugar chip off an M&M. (Smarties come in more subdued natural colours, and don't have a white layer under the shell.)

The more advanced of the two young Robins looked down from a twig.

The female Little Owl at the leaf yard was visible all day in various parts of the chestnut tree.

There was a Grey Heron in the little swamp at the edge of the Vista where a land drain has broken. It was more interested in the land than the water, perhaps looking for mice in the grass.

One of the three young Great Crested Grebes from the nest on the island was fishing by itself.

You can tell when a grebe is about to dive when it sinks slightly and its shoulders go under water. It does this by clenching down its feathers to reduce its buoyancy.

A Moorhen was preening on a chain near the bridge, as usual enjoying balancing in a difficult place.

The Black Swan is now usually found at the landing stage next to the Diana fountain, where there are often people feeding the waterfowl.

This Red-Crested Pochard seen at the Vista is a male in eclipse. He has exactly the same plumage as a female, but his red bill and eye give him away.

There were three female Mandarins at Peter Pan, all regrowing their wing feathers.

The people at Bluebird Boats believe that hanging CDs on strings will scare gulls away from their boats. I don't think this would work even if they were Metallica CDs.

A Holly Blue butterfly was drinking nectar from a borage flower behind the Lido.

Whenever it had been there for a few seconds, a Honeybee would come and knock it off.

There were plenty of borage flowers for everyone, so I don't know why the bee did this. But it happened four times in two minutes, and seemed to be deliberate.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Grey Herons wait looking down into the water for what seems like an eternity. I took a routine picture because the background was pretty and walked on.

A moment later there was a sudden lunge, and the heron had grabbed a fair-sized roach.

It's impossible to tell the species of fish that this Cormorant caught on the Serpentine, as it came up thickly wrapped in algae.

One of the foods most liked by many birds in the park is, oddly, Cheesy Wotsits. Perhaps they find the bright orange colour interesting. Mute Swans and Canada Geese were enthusiastically scooping them up ...

... and a Black-Headed Gull seized one and was promptly chased by the other gulls.

The Black Swan was following one of the Mute Swan cygnets, as usual.

There were 19 Pochards on the Long Water, mostly male.  It's too early for migrant Pochards to arrive, and there are only two residents, usually on the Serpentine. They must have come in from one of the other parks.

The pale hybrid goose tends to stand in front of its Canada mate in a defensive attitude. Presumably it's the male of the pair -- though this makes little difference, as he's certainly sterile and there will be no odd-coloured goslings.

A Greylag Goose was washing on the Serpentine. Vigorous splashing and flapping helps to dislodge parasites.

A Carrion Crow was dealing with its parasites in a different way, by sunbathing. This encourages the bugs to come to the surface, where they can be picked or shaken off.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull visited the Long Water with his mate, followed by their offspring. Although he often comes here, I've not seen him hunting and I don't know where he does it on this largely tree-lined lake.

Later he returned to his usual perch on the roof of the Dell restaurant, where pigeons are plentiful.

One of the young Robins in the Rose Garden turned up to be fed. I haven't got it coming to my hand yet.

Some visitors turned up to see the Little Owl at the leaf yard, and she looked down at the sound of an unfamiliar voice.

At the outflow of the Serpentine, an Emperor dragonfly took a rest from hunting.

Monday, 14 August 2017

The Moorhens at the Serpentine bridge still have five of their original six chicks. They have done much better than the Coots from the nest in the same place, who have lost all the chicks from two broods.

The Black Swan was nearby, on his own. The Mute Swan who is the mother of the four cygnets had taken them up the lake. She has not been attacking him when he hangs around her family, but she may consider him a bad influence.

Some swans flew to the other end of the lake and descended elegantly on the water.

One of the young Greylag Geese sprawled on the shore, preening its wing.

A Cormorant caught several carp in front of the place where the fishermen usually sit, catching nothing.

A Great Crested Grebe was pursued by a chick under the Serpentine bridge. The other parent is sitting on a new clutch of eggs on the far side of the bridge.

A Starling was foraging up the shore, looking very fine in the sunshine.

The female Little Owl at the leaf yard was in the same place as yesterday. She seems to have abandoned what used to be her usual branch, perhaps not surprisingly as there were a lot of Magpies around.

A family of Long-Tailed Tits passed through the trees near the Albert Memorial.

In the Rose Garden, a Great Tit, a Coal Tit and a juvenile Robin took turns at a feeder while a Dunnock on the ground underneath picked up the spillage. This feeder is not operated by the park. A kind woman set it up and fills it regularly.

A Honeybee and a Comma butterfly enjoyed the flowers and the sunshine.

An Emperor dragonfly was hunting at the east end of the Serpentine.

A mess of ripped-off oak leaves and acorns on the path near the Henry Moore statue showed that the squirrels were eating young acorns in their usual destructive manner.

Both Grey Squirrels and Rose-Ringed Parakeets seem unable to feed in a tree without vandalising it.