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.


  1. This may be of interest. I live in Westbourne Terrace, north of the park, and was walking down the private road that runs parallel to the main road when I noticed a large seagull (sorry I don't know which type) standing in the vicinity of what I then discovered to be two decapitated and disembowelled pigeons. It flew off as I approached. Is it possible that the behaviour you've observed in the park is spreading beyond its borders?

  2. Thank you. That is indeed interesting. It might have been a different gull, or it might have been 'our' gull, who is having to hunt farther afield because the pigeons on the Serpentine are learning to avoid him. There are two common kinds of big gull, Herring Gulls which have pale grey backs and Lesser Black-Backed Gulls which have dark grey backs. 'Our' gull is a Lesser Black-Back, unusually large and with distinctive deep yellow legs the colour of Bird's Custard -- most LBBs have paler yellow legs.

    1. I went to St James's park last week and saw a gull with part of a dead half-eaten pigeon at it's feet. It was horrible! I thought about your pigeon-eating gull when I saw it.

    2. There has been a pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Back in St James's Park for some time, usually working near the bridge. I haven't seen it myself, so again I'm not sure whether it's 'ours' or a different one.

    3. Interesting that there should have been two decapitated pigeons together. I wonder if they were juveniles, and possibly killed by some mammal first, probably not a fox which would have borne at least one of them away from such a scene and soon sought out the other. Jim

    4. Our gull has been seen catching a pigeon before he has finished the last one.