Tuesday, 14 August 2018

There had been no Jackdaws at the leaf yard for several weeks, but today five of them turned up to ask for peanuts. They are looking less smart than usual, and are evidently moulting.

The female Kestrel appeared briefly over Buck Hill.

When I went back later to try to get some more pictures she wasn't there, so I went over the road to the Meadow to try to find her. No luck with that, but a dozen House Martins were still here, hunting insects high over the grass.

Although the berries on the rowan trees on Buck Hill are still unripe, Feral Pigeons don't mind and several were eating fallen fruit.

A pigeon at the Dell restaurant took advantage of a sunny spell to bask in the middle of an aisle between the rows of tables, so that staff and customers had to step round it.

We haven't seen many Pied Wagtails recently, but a young one was running around in the Diana fountain enclosure.

The young Grey Herons on the island were having a quiet moment in the nest.

The number of Cormorants on the Long Water is steadily increasing. It will keep going up through the autumn until they have eaten so many of this year's young fish that they no longer think it's worth coming.

This pair of Great Crested Grebes at the east end of the Serpentine couldn't find a place to nest, so they have no chicks to make a fuss of. But, as grebe couples are, they are clearly happy to be together.

One of the young grebes from the family at the bridge was resting under the willow tree.

This chick from the nest in the Long Water reed bed, although not yet fully grown, seems to be larger than its parent.

The Coot chick that fell down the weir was in the nest being fed by its parents. As usual, one parent brings the food and passes it to the one on the nest.

The Coot on the right was trying to mate with the one on the left, but she wasn't in the mood.

His ring is the result of a project by Bill Haines to ring the park coots and trace their movements. One has already been reported over a hundred miles away.

One of the Moorhen chicks from the nest under the platform of Bluebird Boats is already going into its teenage brown stage.

The Tufted Duck with thirteen ducklings cruised past the island. They are a very orderly brood and keep close to their mother, which accounts for their survival.

Monday, 13 August 2018

The fruit in the rowan trees at the top of Buck Hill is not yet ripe enough to attract birds. The Blackbird family in the neighbouring hawthorn tree will dive in as soon as it's palatable.

The migrant Mistle Thrushes are also waiting, but for the time being were looking for insects and worms in the long grass.

They flew into a tree when the female Kestrel arrived.

She hovered high over the field ...

... and perched in a tree, letting me come quite close.

Under the tree, three Feral Pigeons were lounging around, knowing that she was too small to attack them.

The two young Grey Herons on the island climbed around their nest and adjacent branches, flapping well developed wings. They are ready to leave, but haven't dared to take the plunge yet.

One of the Great Crested Grebe chicks at the island was given a large fish which it was just able to swallow.

The people at Bluebird Boats kindly gave me a trip to get a closer look at them. These are the chicks from the same family, looking under the surface to see if one of their parents was catching some fish for them.

This is the family from the west end of the island. The chicks are more recently hatched, but have grown fast and there is now room for only one of them on a parent's back.

A view from above of the Coots' nest at the Serpentine outflow, with the chick that was washed over the weir and eventually managed to climb back up.

It must have been well fed, because it refused the proffered food.

A Bar-Headed Goose at the Round Pond was sitting down cropping the new grass which has come up after the recent rain.

There was another one some distance away along the edge of the pond. It was pacing around restlessly, evidently missing its companion ...

... and set off, calling, to look for it. Once reunited, they preened happily side by side.

The Tufted Duck and her thirteen ducklings came to the edge of the Serpentine to eat some birdseed thrown into the water. They had to dodge some Canada Geese with the same idea.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

The Coot chick that went over the weir at the Serpentine outflow climbed out today -- not that it was much of a climb, since it only had to walk up a sloping plank.

When I went past later it had gone down again, and could be heard calling from under the arch. It must like the calm and safety of this place. As far as I know, this is the only Coot chick that has gone over the weir and survived.

Another Coot was stretching over the edge of the basin of the marble fountain in the Italian Garden to eat algae.

You wouldn't know this fountain was made of marble. It's thickly encrusted with slimy growth all over. When it was cleaned a few years ago, it went back to its original green in a few days.

More green: the three young Moorhen chicks in the fountain pool were in a thick bed of duckweed.

I've mentioned before that teenage Moorhens sometimes feed their young siblings. This chick begged to be fed.

It got a sharp peck instead.

When Great Crested Grebes bring fish to their chicks, they dive every few seconds to make it harder for gulls to track them and try to snatch the fish. The chick saw its mother approaching when she was surfaced, and hurried out to meet her. She came up right in front of it, and the Herring Gull behind them had no time to react.

The Tufted Duck with seven ducklings was at the island. They are now quite large.

We haven't seen a female Mandarin for a while, but today there was one at the Vista. While their mates are in eclipse and looking shabby, females remain as smart as ever.

There are several Greylag Geese with white patches on the lake, but this brilliant white one with a few grey patches hasn't been seen before. One of the more normal ones is shown later. These geese often have blue eyes. They may be crosses with domestic geese. But they are not hybrids, as domestic geese are genetically Greylags, bred for size.

A Bar-Headed Goose cruised past the Dell restaurant. They fly in and out from St James's Park quite often now, and it may not always be the same one. There were two at the Round Pond recently.

Someone gave a Canada Goose a croissant, which it ate enthusiastically.

The pigeon-killing Lesser Black-Backed Gull was disturbed by the weekend crowds, and took his latest victim out into the middle of the Serpentine.

The young Grey Herons, which were climbing around yesterday, were a bit subdued in the drizzle.

The female Kestrel was hunting on Buck Hill.

On the ground below, a young Carrion Crow investigated a bit of kicked-up turf to see if there were any edible creatures in it.

This fine picture of a Greenfinch is by Paul. A couple of days ago he found a family of them in the trees halfway between Peter Pan and the Italian Garden.  We've been looking for them, but haven't seen them since.

In the Buck Hill shelter some trainee Jedi were having bit of light sabre practice. I am not sure that the force was really with them.

Saturday, 11 August 2018

The Kestrels were on Buck Hill, hovering ...

... and swooping on their prey. They were catching grasshoppers, no easy task.

They spent most of the time on the ground running after them.

One of them charged straight at Virginia, who got these two dramatic shots.

The Little Owl at the leaf yard stayed still for just one shot, then dashed into a place where he couldn't be seen and wouldn't emerge for the rest of the day. Weekends make him nervous, with all the people milling around under his tree.

A family of Long-Tailed Tits flitted through the trees near the Physical Energy statue.

The young Grey Herons on the island are ready to leave the nest. One prowled around the edge ...

... and ventured out on to a branch.

The other one had climbed and flapped right into the tree and could only just be seen.

The youngest Great Crested Grebe chicks at the island are off their parents' backs and following them around.

The Moorhens in the Italian Garden have already built one temporary nest in the water lilies as a day bed for their chicks. Now they are building a third.

The Coot chick that has fallen down the weir at the outflow of the Serpentine is still alive and being fed. You can just hear it calling as its parent goes down the sloping plank with a bit of food. I really think it could climb up the plank now, but it's having an easy life and can't be bothered to.

The teenage Coots from the nest at the Dell restaurant are getting their adult white faces.

The Coot nest under the willow next to the bridge has already been commandeered by a Great Crested Grebe, a Tufted Duck and a Grey Heron. Now a Mallard is using it as a comfortable resting place.

The seven Mallard ducklings on the Round Pond dived to pick up food from the bottom.

This Tufted Duck also has seven ducklings which are much more accomplished divers. As soon as you get all of them in shot, one is bound to dive as you press the shutter button.

The Egyptian goslings at the Round Pond are now ready to fly. The family will probably leave the pond to get out of the way of the very aggressive pair of Egyptians, and seek a quieter life on the main lake.