Tuesday, 27 June 2017

A young Pied Wagtail was begging for food from its father on the far side of the Round Pond.

Getting none, it flew across the pond and immediately found a large green larva.

This is the female Grey Wagtail of the pair nesting in the willow tree next to the Serpentine bridge. It was looking for insects at the Lido restaurant, the favourite hunting ground of this family.

A Moorhen chick was exploring the waterlilies in the Italian Garden.

Moorhens enjoy their agility, and love climbing and balancing on narrow places. This one is on the plastic tubing topping the fence of one of the reed rafts at the east end of the Serpentine.

The pair of Great Crested Grebes who have been unsuccessfully trying to make a nest on the side of one of the rafts were at it again. This is the pair who briefly tried to make a nest on the island, but must have been chased off by the resident pair, so they have gone back to their hopeless task.

They could make an excellent nest in the nearby reed bed, but it seems that grebes have to learn about making nests in reeds. The ones on the Norfolk Broads, having reeds but few trees, are accustomed to it and build quite good reed nests.

Coots have no difficulty in attaching nests to the rafts. They poke crooked or knobbly twigs through the mesh to make them stick.

The Black Swan was near the island. This video doesn't show him doing anything interesting, but it's good to see him sweep gracefully by.

This young Egyptian Goose is one of Blondie's brood, now completely independent and going their separate ways. It is not quite full size yet, but already able to fly.

On the Long Water, the Egyptians were escorting their goslings on to the gravel bank.

The odd-looking ducks at the far left are Red-Crested Pochard drakes in eclipse. They look much like females but have red bills. There are also two not yet fully in eclipse at the right, along with a couple of Common Pochards and a Tufted Duck.

At the other end of the gravel, the Great Crested Grebes' nest is uncomfortably close to a Coot nest.

The first returning Black-Headed Gull was on the Round Pond. They are not black-headed, of course, and this one's head is an unusually pale brown. Thanks to Virginia for this picture.

Virginia also sent me an interesting close-up of a young Starling on the Round Pond.

This is one of the Coal Tits that come to take food from my hand at the bridge.

On a dark morning, the female Little Owl at the leaf yard was looking out from her hole.

The wildflowers in the patch behind the Lido are beginning to come up. A Buff-Tailed Bumblebee was gathering nectar from a cornflower.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Look who's back! The much missed Black Swan has returned to the Serpentine. He saw me and came over for a digestive biscuit.

Then had a preen and went over to the other side of the lake, where someone was feeding the Mute Swans. In his usual style he barged his way to the front.

There is a new brood of five Greylag chicks on the Serpentine.

Their father chased off a Coot that had got too near.

The combined family of Canada Geese took to the water when an irresponsible dog owner let his dog run along the edge. The other two parents stood guard on the shore until the last of the goslings was safe.

The Great Crested Grebes on the Long Water were feeding their family, and there was a good view of them from the bridge. The father is guarding the chicks while the mother brings small fish. The parents will swap roles every half hour or so.

The young grebe on the Serpentine was busy fishing, but was too far out on the lake for a worthwhile photograph.

A Grey Heron saw someone with food near the Henry Moore sculpture, and strode rapidly over.

A Carrion Crow had been bathing in the Long Water, and landed on the grass nearby to preen his wet feathers.

A Blackbird was basking in a patch of sunlight in a shrubbery near the bridge.

There were at least four Reed Warblers flying around the reed bed below, presumably two parents and two chicks.

A Blackcap was ticking loudly in a tree near Peter Pan. He came out on a twig for a few seconds.

The female Little Owl at the leaf yard was out on a branch.

Tom got a better picture of yesterday's Banded Demoiselle than I did -- I was on the wrong side of the reed clump at the time. Here it is.

There are two plum trees beside the Serpentine bearing good fruit, one red, one yellow. The locals know about this, and the plums disappear as soon as they ripen.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Half a dozen House Martins were hunting insects over the Long Water. This isn't a place they usually go, since their nests are in the embassy beyond the far end of the Serpentine, and in Kensington Palace, but they follow the insects wherever they go. This picture was taken looking down from the bridge.

The Great Tits are still feeding their young in the bushes beside the Long Water. The mother seemed tired of being chased by her clamorous brood. They will be self-sufficient soon.

Other food was on offer. The young Grey Heron that hangs around the Dell restaurant had won a piece of pizza.

And a young Moorhen on the raft had somehow got a whole small chocolate chip cookie. It was having difficulty in pecking bits out of it.

Adult and juvenile Starlings waited on the roof of the Lido restaurant for a diner to leave a table so that they could swoop down and devour the scraps.

A pair of Coots nesting in a hidden place under the platform of Bluebird Boats, were feeding six brand new chicks.

A lone Egyptian gosling, the last of its brood, browsed on algae on the edge of the Serpentine. This slimy stuff is quite nutritious, and Mute Swans grow to a huge size on a diet largely consisting of it.

The swan family that have moved on to the Long Water were under the willow tree near the bridge, hidden from the angry resident swans eager to chase them away.

A Greylag and two Canada Geese rushed around at the island in the odd way that geese have when they are moulting. The Greylag has already regrown its flight feathers.

The Mandarin family sailed past the Vista. When they young are grown to full size you can still tell them from female adults, as their wings are shorter.

The young Great Crested Grebe on the Serpentine preened his new wing feathers.

There seems to be a second grebe nest under construction on the island, at the east end facing the shore, as far as can be seen behind the wire baskets of water plants. There will be serious territorial disputes, as it is only a few yards from the first nest.

A Robin in the grass near Queen's Gate was looking very dishevelled, perhaps as a result of nesting.

The female Little Owl was on one of her favourite branches in the chestnut tree near the leaf yard.

A Banded Demoiselle fly perched on a clump of reeds in the Italian Garden.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

One of the young Grey Wagtails was running along the shore of the Serpentine. Young birds are much less shy than adults, and it went by me inches from my feet.

It was picking small yellow-green larvae out of the detritus on the edge of the water.

The young Great Crested Grebe was fishing busily in the middle of the lake.

There are certainly plenty of small fish to be found. The grebes on the Long Water were constantly bringing them to their chicks.

The Little Grebes were in the same part of the lake. Both these views were shot from the bridge, at some distance.

The Egyptian Geese were at the Vista. They have managed to hang on to six goslings, but these are still small and vulnerable.

The Mallard at Peter Pan was down to two ducklings. She was standing over them protectively on an abandoned Coot nest.

The two young Mandarins are teenagers now, and will be able to fly soon. They look almost exactly like their mother, who is on the right of this picture.

A Mute Swan on the Serpentine was quite pointlessly threatening two Coots which were not particularly near her cygnets.

The Coot nesting near the bridge still has her four eggs.

She lost several of her first clutch, possibly rolling them out of the nest deliberately because they were infertile.

A young Moorhen was running around the terrace of the Lido restaurant, looking for food under the tables.

There are young Magpies everywhere begging for food from their parents.

The number of Magpies in the park is rising fast -- good for them, but bad news for smaller birds.

At least they were too busy with their young to bother the female Little Owl, who was out on a branch all day.

Friday, 23 June 2017

The young Great Crested Grebe was fishing near the island. It is beginning to grow flight feathers, and has the first sign of a black crest. It will keep its stripy head until the end of the year and then grow adult plumage, though it won't have the full magnificent headgear for another year.

Its father was nearby fishing under the pedalos, where fish like to lurk in the shade

At the nest in the fallen poplar on the Long Water, it was time to do a bit of housekeeping. Grebes' soggy nests slump slowly into the water, and have to be continually built up to keep them afloat.

The Little Grebes were calling to each other near the bridge, but disappeared into a reed bed before I could get up on to the bridge for a closer shot.

The intruding Mute Swan was back on the Long Water tearing up reeds to make a nest, which has also made it more visible.

The dominant female passing the reed bed with her cygnets must have seen it, but didn't intervene, and the male seemed to be leaving it alone too. Is he losing his grip on his territory? Over the years he has fought hard to retain it, surviving a dog attack and the loss of his first mate to a fox, and it seems unlikely that he would give up easily.

Inevitably, the Mallard has lost more ducklings to the gulls. She crossed in front of Peter Pan with three, and prudently hid them in the bushes on the other side.

But on the way she was chased by two drakes, and had to fly off and desert her young for a minute. Luckily they were right at the edge at the time, out of the reach of swooping gulls.

There was a surprise visit to the gravel bank by five male Pochards. The resident population is only three, or perhaps two now as I haven't seen the spare male for some time. Normally Pochards are winter migrants. Probably these ones have come from another park.

A Moorhen was feeding a chick next to the reed bed by the bridge.

At the far end of the Serpentine, a Greylag Goose reached up for a reed to chew.

In the shrubbery near the bridge, a young Magpie was pestering a parent for food.

On the shore below, a male Feral Pigeon was courting a female, billing and cooing and trotting round and round her until she was sufficiently bewildered to let him mate.

The female Little Owl near the leaf yard came out on her branch for a short time, but it was windy and there were Magpies about, so she soon went back into her hole.

A rabbit was resting in the shade of the Henry Moore sculpture, but a Grey Heron landed on top of it and the rabbit dashed for cover.