Monday, 24 September 2018

One of the pair of Peregrines from the Metropole Hilton hotel perched on the 300 ft tower of the Household Cavalry barracks.

It looked around before flying off.

The still picture was taken with my Pentax 450mm zoom lens, and is a 1000 x 750 crop out of the middle of the image. The video was taken with the 2000mm zoom of the Nikon Coolpix 900. It can reach farther, but it isn't nearly as sharp.

A Cormorant struggled to keep its balance on a chain as it tried to jump on to a post.

A young Grey Heron had no difficulty at all in getting on to a post. Even at an early age they are masters of precise slow flying.

A pair of Egyptian Geese washed and preened in the Serpentine. When one scratched the right side of its face with a foot, the other copied it. Such mirroring of action is common between mates.

A Mistle Thrush perched in one of the rowan trees on Buck Hill.

Later, as I crossed the hill, a pair of Meadow Pipits dashed overhead and disappeared into a tree. I know they were Meadow Pipits because I checked their call on my smartphone. But I couldn't get a picture, so here is an excellent one taken by Paul some time ago.

A Robin sang in a tree at the foot of the hill.

Both Nuthatches in the leaf yard came down to the fence to be fed.

So, after an agony of indecision, did the very shy Coal Tit. It has never overcome its fear of people, unlike the pair at the bridge, which come to my hand again and again.

Long-Tailed Tits flew through the holly tree in in the shrubbery next to the bridge.

A tatty female Blackbird poked around in the leaf litter underneath. She's overdue to renew her moulted feathers.

Several Carrion Crows landed on the bridge parapet, expecting peanuts.

A male Common Darter dragonfly sunned himself on the kerb of one of the Italian Garden pools ...

... and a female did the same on a dead leaf just outside the railings.

The statue group representing Asia on the Albert Memorial has a sunflower growing in it.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Hundreds of House Martins collected over the Serpentine, Long Water and Round Pond, massing before heading south to Africa.

The rain had brought the insects down to low level, and the birds were whizzing past the people on the shore at ankle height. All you needed to do to get a video of them was to point the camera in any direction and push the button.

They kept getting into photographs of other birds, in this case some of the Great Crested Grebe family from the east end of the island.

While I was taking these pictures a Starling suddenly landed in front of my feet and started singing.

After several hours of rain, the usually sluggish stream in the Dell actually starts to flow. Before a city was built on top of it, the Westbourne was a proper little river,  but being paved over has starved it of water.

The pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull had finished a bloody meal and was washing his face in the Serpentine. He's very particular about his appearance.

One of the young Grey Herons appeared in the top of a holly tree at the southwest corner of the bridge, looking out of place.

It saw an adult, probably one of its parents, in a neighbouring tree, and flew across to beg for food -- unsuccessfully, of course.

The adult, annoyed by this, flew away, leaving the young heron to have a face-off with a Magpie.

The rowan tree on Buck Hill was busy, with a flock of Starlings ...

... a Mistle Thrush ...

... and a Jay.

A Robin the the Rose Garden perched against an autumnal background.

In the afternoon the sun came out. If you can catch a Cormorant at the right angle in the sunlight, it looks quite glossy and handsome.

When the Olympics were held in the park in 2012, a large and splendid wildflower patch was planted at the back of the site, near the Rima relief. Some of the flowers managed to seed themselves and are still there. This is a Meadow Cranesbill.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

It rained all day. This is fine for Blackbirds -- no matter how wet they get, there are plenty of worms on the surface.

A Robin was looking a bit soggy.

So were a flock of about 50 Blue Tits which passed through the Flower Walk.

A Dunnock came out from the shelter of a bush on to the path, with very muddy feet.

Wet weather brings the insects down low over the surface of the lake, and also the House Martins hunting them.

One of the young Grey Herons was huddled up in the nest with its head under its wing, looking rather miserable.

The usual heron in the Dell was in the pool at the top of the waterfall, staring supiciously at the camera.

The Diana fountain was deserted, giving a young Herring Gull a place to wash.

Beside it was a Herring Gull with unusual dark eyes. It isn't the dark-eyed Herring Gull I photographed on 19 July, which was a very tatty bird. It already has the speckled head of winter plumage. With the dark band on its bill, it looked almost like a Common Gull, but was the same size as the other large gulls around it.

There was a big swimming event in the Serpentine. Coots explored a fallen branch undisturbed by hundreds of humans thrashing through the water a few yards away.

The Great Crested Grebes had been displaced to the edge of the lake, but it was business as usual with the chicks incessantly begging their parents for food.

A young Moorhen trotted along the shore.

In the Italian Garden, a Moorhen climbed out of an enclosure where it had hidden the chicks in the safety of the plants.

The white Mallard was a bright spot on a dark day.

Friday, 21 September 2018

A flock of Starlings settled in the rowan trees on Buck Hill. The fine crop of fruit is not getting as much attention as you might expect, and there are few of the usual Mistle Thrushes.

A Wood Pigeon reached down for a hawthorn berry. A fraction of a second after I took this picture it fell out of the tree and fluttered ignominiously to the ground.

There was a Goldcrest in the yew tree near the bridge.

House Martins streaked low over the lake. When banking steeply they keep their head horizontal, unlike the human pilot of an aircraft.

The young Lesser Black-Backed Gull that is the offspring of the pigeon-killer played with a leaf.

A Great Crested Grebe caught a fish at the bridge.

One of the young grebes from the west end of the island was on the disused Coot nest when a Red-Crested Pochard drake went by, now almost in full breeding plumage.

A female Shoveller went past Peter Pan.

There is still some duckweed left in the Italian Garden fountains, and the Mallards are glad of it.

One of the four teenage Moorhens was also eating it.

The sad end of a Migrant Hawker dragonfly which hovered too close to a young Grey Heron. David Element caught this dramatic shot.

The shire horses were out early on Buck Hill cutting grass for the bankers to fork up later. It's always good to see bankers doing an honest day's work -- and paying for the privilege.

These pretty flowers on the hill are Field Bindweed.