Wednesday, 18 October 2017

It rained for most of the morning. A Robin in the Rose Garden was looking wet and bedraggled.

A Magpie had had enough, and was sheltering under a table at the Lido restaurant.

But the weather didn't stop a Wren from singing on a twig near the Dell, where there is a colony of them.

At the bottom of the Dell waterfall, a pair of Blackbirds didn't feel wet enough, and decided to go bathing.

A Cormorant perversely tried to dry its wings in the rain.

When there are no people to feed the mob of Rose-Ringed Parakeets at the leaf yard, they go down on to the ground and eat dandelion leaves.

A young Black-Headed Gull scratched its chin.

The three young Great Crested Grebes have now started fishing for themselves, although their parents are still feeding them. One of them actually caught something, but I missed filming it. Between dives they practised the grebe head-shaking salute.

They were near the island, way out of their territory. One of the pair of adults from the island postured threateningly at them, but didn't go beyond that, as they are young and stripy and allowed a certain latitude.

The Black Swan sauntered over, rain-spattered but as elegant as ever.

A pair of Mallards were interested in something in a hole in the concrete edge of the Serpentine.

The white Mallard reached up for a tasty leaf on one of the rafts of water plants.

More Shovellers have arrived on the Long Water. I could see ten in all.

This is the first rabbit I've seen for months at the Henry Moore sculpture. They have had a terrible year. However, fresh droppings on the hill above show that there are still several of them.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Another cloud of sand spread across the sky in the middle of the day.

But there were moments of sunshine. A Mistle Thrush in a hawthorn tree on Buck Hill stared at the camera.

Underneath the tree, a Jay dug up a hazelnut.

At the bottom of the hill a Green Woodpecker was pecking in the grass. It stayed in the same place for several minutes. Perhaps it had found an ants' nest.

An even more severe stare from a Robin in the Rose Garden.

There are still enough flowers here to interest a Buff-Tailed Bumblebee.

A Coal Tit perched in front of red leaves at the bridge.

Another came to take food in the leaf yard.

So did a Nuthatch.

And here I am trying to take the previous two pictures despite interference. Thanks to Tom for this photograph.

A Magpie bathed in the Serpentine.

Another was at the Lido restaurant wondering whether it liked chocolate cake. Surprisingly, it didn't.

But some Starlings had no hesitation in descending on the leavings.

Others were preening on a bush, waiting for their chance of grabbing some leftovers from another table.

The Peregrine perched on the tower of the Household Cavalry barracks.

The pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull was enjoying a particularly bloody meal. Crows hung around just outside pecking distance, hoping for a chance ...

... which one of them got while the gull wasn't paying attention. It dragged the pigeon away and had a brief snack before the gull attacked it.

The Black Swan was hanging around with a teenage Mute Swan again.

Monday, 16 October 2017

The day started clear with sunshine, but gradually a brown haze spread over the sky, which you can see in this picture of a Pied Wagtail on the roof of the Serpentine Gallery.

Apparently it's caused by Hurricane Ophelia churning up sand from southern Europe and Africa. As I write this around 4.15pm, the sky is a dull ginger and it's quite dark.

The Black Swan, whom I didn't see yesterday, is still here. He was on the Long Water preening and flapping his unexpectedly white wings.

Later he came on to the Serpentine and, as usual, came over to be fed. He was annoyed by the other birds trying to eat his treat, so he came ashore for a second helping and made a defiant neck-stretching gesture at them.

You can see two Shovellers in the first picture of the Black Swan. There are still only three. The third one was at the Italian Garden. Somehow his shovelling action has blown a bubble.

A pair of Egyptian Geese were flying from tree to tree near the Round Pond, displaying and making a racket. To some extent they are prospecting for nest sites, but mostly it's a proclamation of territory.

The hopeless pair of Egyptians at the Henry Moore statue were also displaying and calling to each other, and seem about to nest again. Since they have never managed to raise a single gosling in the 14 years they have been here, it's wasted effort.

Cormorants were fishing near the bridge, catching small perch. These came up wrapped in a massive bundle of weed with had to be separated and spat out.

One of them preened on a post.

The second pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull has not been in his usual place near the Triangle car park for several days. I found him on the edge of the Round Pond. He has been seen eating a pigeon here.

There were Blackbirds eating fruit in the rowan trees on Buck Hill, but no sign of a Mistle Thrush. I've only seen or heard a few of these in the past few days.

The Little Owl at the leaf yard was in the same place, and this picture is almost the same as yesterday's. But it's always a pleasure to see her.

On warm days at lunchtime, the Lido restaurant is overrun with Starlings trying to grab food off the tables, to the exasperation of the staff. I could see them glaring at this kind person attracting even more of them.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Jays are coming out to be fed again after their autumn task of burying acorns and nuts for the winter. This one was near the Albert Memorial.

The admirable woman who supplies and fills the feeder in the Rose Garden (I don't know her name) has replaced it yet again after it was stolen, and birds are coming back to the bush where it hangs. This is one of the pair of Coal Tits who nest in a nearby copper beech.

A Robin waited for its turn.

This is one of another pair of Coal Tits at the bridge, who will come to take food from the hand of people that have learnt to trust.

The Goldcrests were bouncing around in the yew tree in the Dell. They are not at all shy, but still hard to photograph because they tend to stay in the shade and move quickly.

A Rose-Ringed Parakeet was in the same tree eating berries.

A Blackbird visited one of the rowan trees on Buck Hill.

There are three rowans here, plus a very small one which grew back after the original tree died and was cut down. It looks healthy enough but the old roots are heavily infested with Honey Fungus, and probably it won't survive. Let's hope this doesn't spread to the other trees or to the rowan saplings recently planted on the other side of the path.

The Little Owl at the leaf yard was in her usual place.

Blondie and her mate on the edge of the Serpentine were having a preen and going through the ritual of agreeing to take off together.

A Grey Heron and a Cormorant looked uneasy together on the posts near the bridge.

A Cormorant enjoyed a tumultuous wash and a good flap on the Long Water.

A Moorhen prospecting for small invertebrates on one of the Italian Garden fountains didn't seem to mind that it was getting drenched.

A Shoveller found that the edible creatures in the water were a bit below the surface, and had to adapt his technique for scooping them up.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

There were three Goldcrests in the big yew tree at the southeast corner of the Dell.

A Blackbird was eating the 'strawberries' on a nearby arbutus tree.

Her mate preferred to look for insects and worms in the dead leaves under another tree.

In the Rose Garden, a Robin had found a worm in a flower bed, and for some reason dragged it across the path into the flower bed on the other side.

A party of Feral Pigeons enjoyed a bathe in the original Diana fountain in the Rose Garden. This has nothing to do with the princess. It has a statue of the goddess Diana on it, shooting quite understandably at the statue of Lord Byron in Park Lane. And it's a real fountain, not a drain.

A Jay dug up a buried acorn beside the Long Water.

A Cormorant was after more substantial fare, and caught a perch.

The young Great Crested Grebes at the bridge are still being fed by their parents, but are now making serious efforts to catch fish for themselves, and they are begging less.

It allows their parents a bit of leisure to have a preen.

The Black Swan came ashore and trotted over to be given some birdseed. He can walk quite gracefully, unlike the big Mute Swans with their ungainly waddle.

A Grey Heron posed on a tree stump near the bridge. It's an adult but a fairly young one, about a year and a half old, retaining a hint of juvenile grey on the head, and quite a neat front rather than the tatty 'scarf' of older birds.

The Little Owl at the leaf yard was out on her usual branch. You have to get right inside the tree for the best view of her in this difficult place.

The Imperial College fire engine celebrated its 100th birthday in 2016. It's still in good working order, including the pump for the hose, allowing the students a bit of firefighting practice. They maintain several veteran vehicles, which are often seen driving around the park.