Friday, 4 September 2015

The Hobbies haven't been seen for some time, but today one of them made a welcome appearance over Kensington Gardens.

Usually we see more of them, but it has been a bad year for Swifts, and the dull weather has kept the dragonflies down, and they will have had to hunt farther afield for food for their young. Several months ago two young Hobbies were seen at the top of a horse chestnut tree, so we know that they bred successfully.

There were small flocks of Canada and Greylag Geese flying restlessly around the park in all directions.

They don't migrate, but they do move around the local area, some of them between the park and the river. They come to the Serpentine to moult in June, and frosty weather can bring hundreds in from the outer London reservoirs when they freeze over.

One of the young Great Crested Grebes from the Serpentine island was preening itself, and flapped a pair of well developed wings. It is also growing a little black crest.

Soon they will be trying to fly, no easy task for a grebe, involving headlong rushes across the water. When they do get into the air, they often crash ignominiously into the water again.

This young Egyptian Goose is much smaller than any of the other young Egyptians on the Serpentine.

There was a brood here a few months ago in which one was much smaller than the others. The larger ones wandered off and I lost track of them, and supposed that the undersized one had died. But this may well be it.

Two young Moorhens from the brood in the Italian Garden were balancing on a piece of plastic netting, leaning over skilfully to eat the tops of the adjacent plants.

This Wren was on a bush just under the parapet, very well camouflaged against the bark. I wouldn't have seen it if it hadn't been calling.

A dozen Mistle Thrushes were looking for worms near the Serpentine Gallery.

There is a breeding pair here, but these extra ones must be migrants. They were very shy, much more so than the park residents, and I couldn't get within 100 yards of them.

There was no sign of a Little Owl in the morning, and two Carrion Crows and a Magpie were jumping around on the owls' nest trees yelling at each other.

But things quietened down later and the female adult owl emerged for just long enough to allow a quick photograph.


  1. I'm happy to see you cover the topic of migration Ralph. It's a new one to me, so I am trying to learn. I've now realised that the flocks of honking Canada Geese flying over my house are not migrating properly, just shuffling around as you indicate. So much to understand!

    The photo of the teenage Grebe is really lovely.

    1. The easiest way of finding whether a bird migrates is to type (e.g.) rspb mistle thrush into Google, and follow the top hit. The RSPB's main identification site gives you useful basic information.

    2. I've just joined RSPB, so I hope to pick up knowledge in snippets as you suggest, from their magazine, birding book and website.

      More Grebe photos always welcome!