Thursday, 17 September 2015

A Kingfisher has been flying around the Long Water for several days without giving an opportunity for a good photograph. It favours a branch on the west side of the Long Water just north of the fallen horse chestnut tree, but this can be seen only from the Italian Garden over two hundred yards away.

There are still plenty of Red-Crested Pochards near the Serpentine island. Here for a change is a female, one of the most attractive female ducks in her plain cappuccino plumage.

A Great Crested Grebe was flapping a fine new set of wing feathers after finishing moulting.

Their wings are quite long but narrow, and look inadequare for a bird weighing over two pounds. and indeed they can only keep in the air by travelling at high speed to get enough lift, making takeoff a desperate rush and landing a semi-controlled crash. Aviation-minded readers who remember the F104-G Starfighter will recognise the problem.

The female Pied Wagtail at the Lido was dividing her time between running under the tables looking for crumbs and hunting insects in the interstices of the non-slip matting on the jetty.

The usual two Jackdaws at the bridge flew over to be fed. This one is staring impatiently with its beautiful silvery eyes, waiting for me to finish taking pictures and produce a peanut.

The male Little Owl was looking out imperiously from his usual branch.

And his mate in the next tree, usually almost invisible in the foliage, peered anxiously around a leaf when I approached.

There was a male Common Darter dragonfly on a leaf in front of the reed bed near the bridge.

There were also several Migrant Hawkers. The Reed Warblers that were here haven't been seen or heard for several days, and may already have left for Africa.

An old horse-drawn mower, from the look of it dating from about 1920, was being tried out on Buck Hill. It wasn't working very well and the blades kept getting clogged with the long grass.

I wonder whether it was actually used here. During the early 20th century the grass was cropped by a flock of sheep, which were kept from wandering by a large pen that was moved from place to place. The shepherd lived in Shepherd's Cottage just across Pall Mall on the edge of Shepherd Market. The cottage no longer exists, as it was bombed during the Blitz. It would be a sound method to return to, but sadly the irresponsibility of modern dog owners makes it impossible.


  1. Maybe they should bring the sheep back, and ram home the message ewe should keep your dogs out of the pen...

    1. In these days it would take a team of twenty Ovine Outreach Enforcement Executives in high-risibility jackets to do the work of one shepherd.

  2. It looks like the horse-drawn mowing arrangement is some sort of preparation for filming or a vintage show. The way that man is dressed, for example, surely the regular staff don't dress like that? Jim n.L.

    1. Oddly, they had a farm show last week, with the same pair of shire horses and the same man looking after them. I think he always dresses like that. He was attended by park gardeners in high-risibility jackets, but I took care to keep them out of the picture.