Monday, 14 September 2015

Seeing a young Lesser Black-Backed Gull eating a pigeon beside the Serpentine, I thought it was the young one that has been begging for food from its ferocious parents. But no, it was a second-year gull: you can see the dark grey feathers beginning to come out on its back. It had probably stolen this pigeon from the others while they weren't paying attention, as there was still quite a lot of meat on the carcase.

Later I found the two pigeon-killers on the other side of the lake, with the juvenile still mewing at them.

A Greylag Goose was really enjoying a wash near the Lido.

At the Lido restaurant, the uncertain weather had kept people away from the outside tables. So the female Grey Wagtail who hangs around here was on the restaurant roof looking for insects in the joints in the tiles.

The Mallard drakes are now coming out of eclipse, and this one is almost back to its usual smartness, with iridescent green feathers on its head replacing the drab brown ones.

There are a lot of Pochards on the Long Water: at least 20, though they are lurking under bushes on the east side and it's hard to tell how many there are. All the returning migrants are still male -- the females, travelling separately, haven't arrived yet.

At the bridge, a Cormorant was jumping on to a post amid a shower of spray.

This young Great Crested Grebe near the island was making that peculiar shrugging movement that all grebes make to get themselves comfortable.

This is what I think of as 'doing a Louisa', after the description of Louisa in Persuasion, recovering after she has injured herself by jumping off the Cobb at Lyme Regis. Jane Austen wrote that 'she starts and wriggles like a young dab chick upon the water.'

The male Little Owl was idly scratching himself on his favourite branch.

His mate was again in the next tree, and again too hidden by leaves for a proper photograph.

This is a proper Parasol mushroom, I think, not one of the Shaggy Parasols that are commoner in the park. It has a flatter cap with a noticeable boss in the middle.  They can grow to over a foot tall, though this one is still quite young.

It was between the Little Owls' trees and the leaf yard.


  1. How interesting - I didn't realise that Jane Austen mentioned grebes. I wonder if there are other grebe references in literature?

    1. There's a PhD thesis waiting to be written.

    2. I'm listening to an audiobook of Persuasion, but I must have dozed off and missed that line. Like Ralph says, there is definitely a PhD there, just waiting for the right person to come along!