Wednesday, 20 June 2018

A Little Grebe called on the Long Water. This probably means that there are two of them, though I couldn't see the other.

The Great Crested Grebes' nests on the Long Water in the fallen poplar ...

... and the reed bed ...

... will both be hatching soon. They can only be seen from across the lake, so binoculars are necessary.

The Coot family at the Dell restaurant were back on their nest, and a parent was going over a chick for parasites, probably more for the sake of a meal that to keep the chick comfortable.

A Moorhen strolled across the small waterfall in the Dell, looking for tiny edible creatures clinging to stones.

Only one of the Moorhen chicks in the Italian Garden was visible, climbing around in the water lilies.

The Bar-Headed Goose that is moulting on the Serpentine came to eat out of my hand. Clearly in its native St James's Park, visitors have been favouring this beautiful bird.

The Egyptian Geese on the Long Water have more goslings than I thought. Nine were visible on the gravel bank.

The Egyptians near the bridge had moved along the shore of the Serpentine, and were keeping their goslings in the shelter of a handy clump of willowherb and other plants that had sprung up on the edge. No doubt the gardeners will be clearing the plants away soon, but they are a handy resource for waterfowl on this very open lake.

The Mallard at Peter Pan still has four ducklings, and was keeping them safely at the edge where plants provide cover. The drake was tolerated, and might be their father.

A Grey Heron was back on the upper nest on the island, and I thought I could hear the begging call of a young one. I had previously supposed that the youngest heron on the lake was theirs, already fledged. It's all very confusing, not least because the nest is so hard to see.

This young Magpie at the Henry Moore sculpture is no longer being fed by its parents, and has stopped begging, but it is still allowed to pick up the scraps that fall when a parent is eating a peanut.

A huge family group of Long-Tailed Tits was making its way through the trees around the edge of the Nursery -- the place where the greenhouses are.

A Blue-Tailed Damselfly rested on a sun-warmed paving stone in the Italian Garden.

In the fountain pools, Flowering Rushes are beginning to come out.

There is a spectacular tree in the Rose Garden covered with bright yellow blossom. As usual, I have no idea what it is.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

The southwest corner of the leaf yard was full of young birds being fed by their families, but they were deep in the bushes and it was hard to get photographs. Here a young Great Tit flutters its wings and calls for food.

A Nuthatch visited every few seconds, clearly collecting food for fledglings.

There was also a young Robin, but I couldn't get a picture.

Near Peter Pan, several young Wrens were calling from the undergrowth. I managed to get a hasty shot of a parent carrying insects and caterpillars for them.

A Jay on a tree simply wanted a peanut for itself.

Several Lesser Black-Backed Gulls on the lake have tried to copy the notorious pigeon killer, but none has been more than occasionally successful. It's a skill that takes some time to learn. This gull near the Bluebird Boats building is the latest to try.

The Bar-Headed Goose that left its family in St James's Park and came to the Serpentine to moult its wing feathers was washing and preening. It's very tame and will eat out of my hand.

The Egyptian Geese on the gravel bank in the Long Water still have six goslings, down one from yesterday. As far as I know they have never managed to raise any yet, but there's always a first time. (By the way, these are not the really hopeless pair on the Long Water that have not raised a chick in 14 years.)

A moulting Egyptian beside the Serpentine has almost completely regrown its wing feathers, and will be back in the air soon.

This Mallard on the Serpentine has managed to keep three ducklings alive, and they are growing fast. Keeping them against the boathouse wall protects them from swooping gulls.

A Mallard at the island has not been so successful, and is down to two almost at once.

There is another blonde female Mallard on the Serpentine, seen here near the Dell restaurant. She has darker patches, while the first one is evenly pale all over.

A Mandarin at Peter Pan stared down at her reflection.

It's said that only the most intelligent birds, such a parrots and crows, can understand what a reflection is, but water birds must be accustomed to the upside-down image of themselves that they see constantly. And Feral Pigeons seem to be quite calm on window sills seeing themselves reflected in the glass.

These Moorhen chicks in the Italian Garden are not in the fountain where I videoed chicks a few days ago. There was no sign of Moorhens in the other fountain. Either this is a brand new brood, or somehow the chicks have managed to jump up the stone kerb around the pool, which is a foot high with an overhanging edge.

A Meadow Brown butterfly drank nectar from a bramble flower with its long proboscis, until an impatient Honeybee knocked it out of the way. There were lots of other flowers the bee could have chosen.

Monday, 18 June 2018

The male Little Owl at the leaf yard made a welcome reappearance on the chestnut tree, after several days out of sight. He had his back to the light, but never mind, it was good to see him.

It was quite a hot day, and a Carrion Crow at the edge of the Serpentine was panting to cool down.

A Magpie sunbathed near the Henry Moore sculpture.

A Mallard on the Long Water tried to lead her ducklings up into the Italian Garden, which involves a leap of several feet straight up, obviously impossible for tiny flightless ducklings. But not obvious to the mother, who went up and down several times, calling for them to follow.

Yet another family of Greylag Geese has appeared on the Serpentine, though there are only two goslings.

The Egyptian Geese who are often seen under the sculpture have seven new goslings. They took them down to the gravel bank.

There are now only four adult Egyptians on the Round Pond, the very aggressive pair and the pair with seven goslings. They still have seven, thanks to there being few gulls on the pond -- in fact there were none at all this morning, which is unusual.

The notorious pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull floated slowly over a Coot family.

He swooped ...

... and was fended off by an indignant parent.

The Coots nesting under the willow tree next to the bridge have four chicks. Three were with one parent ...

... and the fourth had managed to climb on to a branch where the other parent was preening.

Coot chicks are not very good climbers, unlike Moorhens which can get up anything from an early age. Once there was a Moorhen nest inside the Serpentine outflow, under the weir which is at least three feet high. Somehow the chicks managed to get up the weir and on to the lake. This was before the sloping plank was installed in a vain effort to save the Coot chicks which keep getting swept away.

One of the Moorhens in the Italian Garden fountain leapt nimbly over the fence into the clump of plants where the chicks were hidden.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

The first returning Black-Headed Gull landed on a post at the Vista. It's a year old, still with traces of brown juvenile plumage but with the dark brown head of breeding plumage ('black-headed' is a misnomer). 

Their annual migration may be long -- some come here from Finland. Or short -- some go no farther than the Pitsea landfill site just east of London.

The notorious pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull hasn't been seen much recently, but today he was in his usual place near the Dell restaurant. All the Feral Pigeons here know about him now, and gave him a wide berth. He's still killing pigeons and I often see the remains, but no longer here.

The Mute Swans on the Serpentine have taken to sitting on the north bank near the bridge. This was already the favourite place of the Coots, so there was a contrast of black and white.

A little farther along, the four youngest cygnets were being guarded by their mother.

The Canada Geese with 15 goslings have been taking them all round the lake. They know that people in pedalos often feed them, so today they came to the place where the boats are moored. Finding nothing, they went into the middle of the lake and at once struck lucky.

The goslings are now beginning to grow their adult, or at least teenage, plumage. You can see black tail feathers, and the blue wrappings of emerging wing feathers.

The Canadas who come to the park every June to moult include this one with a speckled white head. Some of the Canada-Gretlag hybrids have speckled heads, but this one is a pure Canada.

Two families of Greylags grazed behind the Lido.

Mallard drakes play no part in the upbringing of ducklings and may even attack them, so if one gets too close the mother sends him packing.

A Grey Heron looked askance at two Gadwalls that were disturbing its fishing.

The two Great Crested Grebe chicks, which have been separated recently and fed by with one parent each, were together in the middle of the lake, waiting for a fish to be delivered.

The Coot family from the nest at the Dell restaurant went along the edge of the terrace, hoping to be thrown scaps by diners.

This female Blackbird often comes to the little pool in the Dell to bathe. Today she just had a quick dip to help with preening.

A male Blackbird paused with a worm before carrying it off to the a nest near Queen's Gate.

A young Long-Tailed Tit stared curiously at the camera.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

The cygnets of the dominant Mute Swan pair on the Long Water are now five weeks old, and are beginning to get quite large. While their mother looked after them, their father kept a lookout.

The Canada Goose family with 15 goslings made a beeline for someone who was feeding the birds.

The Bar-Headed Goose from St James's Park will be with us for several weeks, as it has started moulting and won't be able to fly till it has its new wing feathers. Many geese choose to moult on the Serpentine, but it seems odd that this one has left its relatives, who are perfectly safe on the St James's Park lake.

Egyptian goslings have a tendency to sprawl with their legs sticking out.

The Mallard on the Serpentine still has her three ducklings, and they are visibly larger.

It was changeover time on the Great Crested Grebes' nest in the fallen poplar tree in the Long Water.

Only a few yards away another pair were bringing weed to build up their nest attached to a submerged branch. It has been here for several days, but I think the soggy structure is too weak to be used, and it constantly disintegrates.

A Coot examined a rope and a buoy in the ever present hope of being able to build a nest on them.

On the nest under the balcony of the Dell restaurant, a Coot bought the menu to its five chicks so that they could know what scraps they might be getting later.

A Moorhen chick stood on a water lily leaf in the Italian Garden pond. The others were hidden in a clump of plants.

The Herring Gulls have taken to hitching lifts on pedalos. It allows them to search for food without stirring a wing.

The pair of Carrion Crows near the Henry Moore sculpture have two young ones. One parent is on the right.

People bring apples to the park to feed the Rose-Ringed Parakeets. A Blackbird was very glad to finish off the discarded remains of one.

This fledgling Great Tit couldn't see its parents, so it just cheeped occasionally. When one appeared, the chick would beg loudly to be fed and flutter its wings.

A patch of bramble flowers near the bridge attracted Honeybees and a pair of White-Tailed Bumblebees. For some reason, White-Tailed Bumblebees are much commoner than Buff-Tailed this year. Last year it was the opposite.

In the fountain in the Rose Garden, a female Emperor dragonfly laid eggs on the iron cover of the drain. Their normal place is at the waterline of reed stems and partly submerged twigs, and they see anything roughly like that as suitable.

The fishing season has started. It might as well be done in comfort.