Thursday, 4 September 2014

All four Hobbies were flying high over Kensington Gardens, circling and swooping and play fighting.

They were clearly enjoying themselves, but I also wonder whether this has a purpose in improving the young birds' flying skill and stamina before they undertake the long journey to Africa. When they arrive they keep on flying all around the southern half of the continent, as shown by two Hobbies recently fitted with tiny radio transmitters.

Groups of adult Mute Swans were also flying up and down the lake.

But so far the young swans have shown little sign of wanting to get into the air, and when I took this picture the seven eldest were sitting idly on the edge of the lake making little juvenile squeaking noises that come oddly from such huge birds.

On the chains by the bridge, a young Black-Headed Gull had been pushed off its post by a Moorhen. Finding no vacant post to land on, it tried to stand on the chain and spent several seconds rocking precariously before it lost its balance and had to fly off.

I had been worried that the Great Crested Grebes from the east end of the island had lost one of their three chicks, as I had only seen two for several days. But while I was watching the two chasing their mother, their father came round from the back of the island with the third chick, so all is well.

Some Wood Pigeons were bathing in the little pond at the top of the waterfall in the Dell.

The number of rabbits around the Henry Moore scultpture has fallen considerably, from a peak of 34 observed in the early summer. One reason is that the park foxes are giving them their full attention. Another, sadly, is that myxomatosis has broken out again and we have seen some very sick bunnies. The population has also dispersed, and these two were feeding in the little clearing opposite Rudolf Steiner's bench overlooking the Long Water.

While I was taking this picture, an odd-looking bird appeared at the far side of the clearing. I couldn't tell what it was, but the photograph shows that it is a blond Robin. I have never seen one before.


  1. Replies
    1. Hope I find it again and can get a less distant picture.

  2. and a great abstract study of those swans at lift-off. I like that creaking-hinge noise they make - is it really their wings?

    1. Thanks. Yes, it really is vibrating feathers in their wings that make that noise, and it's unique to them. Bewick's Swans and Whooper Swans fly much more quietly.