Thursday, 22 August 2019

A Kestrel and a Carrion Crow had a dogfight over Buck Hill.

It was surprising to see a male Kestrel here, because usually it's a female that patrols the north edge of the park.

At the foot of the hill, Magpies dug busily around the base of a tree where evidently there were insects.

There was a female Willow Emerald Damselfly on the railings, the first I've seen in the park.

She perched obligingly on a spike and allowed herself to be filmed.

A bit farther along the path a Small White butterfly fed on a buddleia blossom.

A Wood Pigeon reached down to eat an unripe holly berry -- they must have a heroic digestive system. As usual, a few seconds later it overbalanced and fell out of the tree.

A young Starling on the edge of the Serpentine gave me an inquisitive stare.

The Great Crested Grebes at the east end of the island have two chicks. One of them reached to take a fish.

At the west end of the island, the place where the other pair of grebes nested is now crowded with Cormorants.

Two young Moorhens were strangely coloured by sunlight reflected off a red boat.

A Greylag Goose looked for insects and snails in the remains of the Coots' nest under the balcony of the Dell restaurant. One of the Coots passed, but they have lost interest in the site and it didn't intervene.

A pair of Greylags mated. They have left it a bit late.

The Tufted Duck and her four ducklings were on the Long Water.

When one of the ducklings dived and brought up some edible object, they were set upon by Black-Headed Gulls -- but these are too small to actually harm them.

A Mute Swan poked into the stream of bubbles from one of the air jets that are supposed to oxygenate the Serpentine. They bring up a lot of silt, and evidently edible creatures with it.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

The Great Crested Grebes from the west end of the island had returned from yesterday's excursion, and the older and younger chicks were waiting for their other parent to return with a fish of the appropriate size. They showed no interest in the nest, and stayed afloat in the shade of the bushes.

Ahmet Amerikali got a dramatic shot of two grebes chasing each other.

The Coots that built and lost and rebuilt  this nest at the Serpentine outflow have finally given up, and a pair of Moorhens have taken it over. One of them was making it comfortable, but whether they are serious about nesting remains to be seen. They have an advantage over Coots here: if one of their chicks gets washed over the weir the agile little creature will be able to climb up again.

Half-grown Coot chicks from the successful nest in the nearby reed bed stood on the shore.

The Tufted Duck does seem to be down to four ducklings now. She led them across the Serpentine.

Another fine picture by Ahmet of a Tufted Duck flying.

I haven't seen Blondie the Egyptian Goose since May, but today she was back on the Serpentine. She preened her unusual light grey wings. Most Egyptians, even the pale-headed ones, have dark brown flight feathers.

The wire baskets near the bridge, which are full of twigs that act as a fish hatchery, are now teeming with perch. Two Cormorants under the bridge were ready to catch any that ventured out.

Ahmet captured a Cormorant trying to land on a post, a chancy business for a bird with webbed feet and not much grip.

The familiar Jay at the bridge, which was looking very tatty after bringing up its young, is now regrowing its head feathers and beginning to be presentable again. It flew down to take a peanut from my hand.

A mob of Starlings under a hawthorn tree were busy eating something. It was clearly not fallen hawthorn berries, and I think they had found an ants' nest and were mopping up its occupants.

In the shrubbery on the other side of the Long Water, a Dunnock lurked in the shadows.

That was the only other picture of a small bird I got today, but Ahmet had better luck with a female Blackcap ...

... and a Long-Tailed Tit.

Tom was at Rainham Marshes, where he got good shots of a female Kestrel ...

... and a Small Copper butterfly.

All kinds of martial arts and more are practised in the Buck Hill shelter. You never know when it's going to be tae kwon do or the tango.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

The Great Crested Grebes nesting at the east end of the island have at least one chick, which could be seen indistinctly from the shore through a tangle of purple loosestrife.

The grebes from the other end of the island had taken their new chick out on the open lake, and were feeding both this one and the older one near the reed bed east of the Lido.

It looks as if there is only one new chick, which is good news for the older chick as its parents will have time to feed it.

A Moorhen chick dozed peacefully on a duckboard in the Italian Garden.

The enormous Coots' nest at the Dell restaurant, almost three feet from is base on the lake bottom to its summit, has finally been left to collapse.

The wandering Tufted duckling on the Long Water was by itself again at the Vista.

The rest of the family were on the other side of the lake. I could only see three more ducklings, so they may have lost another.

The gang of five teenage Mallards were having a quiet moment at Peter Pan. They are growing their wing feathers and should be flying around soon.

Their mother was a short way off resting under a bush, her job done.

A skein of Greylags flew past the island.

One of the Bar-Headed hybrids explored the Long Water.

It didn't like it, and went back to its companion on the Serpentine.

A Cormorant at Peter Pan shone in the sunlight.

A young one joined the group, and balanced precariously on a chain while its elders had comfortable perches on posts.

There were at least a dozen Mistle Thrushes in the rowan trees on Buck Hill.

A Song Thrush hopped around in the undergrowth near the bridge. It wasn't doing much, but it's always good to see one of these charming birds.

Starlings at the Lido restaurant terrace bathed at the edge of the lake and tussled with a Feral Pigeon for a bit of leftover fish from someone's plate of fish and chips.

Monday, 19 August 2019

The Great Crested Grebes nesting on the wire basket at the island, who have one half-grown chick, have just hatched another chick, and are making a great fuss of it to the annoyance of the other chick. There may be more eggs still to hatch.

However, the elder chick is still being fed.

One of the teenage grebes on the Long Water was poking around under a bush, probably finding small aquatic creatures to eat. It's not yet independent of its parents, and I haven't yet seen it catch a fish.

A Moorhen chick in the Italian Garden stared curiously at the camera.

A young Coot sat on the branch of the dead willow where chicks and ducklings of many species like to rest.

This is a new habit, and there may be a reason. Mateusz at Bluebird Boats tells me that he is finding more young pike in the crayfish pots that hang from the boat platform, and it seems that the number of pike is increasing, making the lake dangerous for small water birds.

The dominant Mute Swan on the Long Water saw some intruding swans coming under the bridge on to his territory, and advanced menacingly to drive them back on to the Serpentine.

The Mallard on the Serpentine and her three ducklings cruised confidently through a group of swans. The ducklings now seem to be large enough to be safe from the numerous Herring Gulls on the lake.

As the young fish in the lake grow to an interesting size, more Cormorants are arriving on the lake. One flapped vigorously to dry its wings after a fishing session.

It's not easy for them to get on to these posts. If they try to land on them, they often skid off and crash ignominiously into the water. So they prefer to splash down in the water, jump on to the chain where they wobble perilously, and scramble up on to the post.

Young Starlings gathered in the holly tree near the Long Water that is the  favourite meeting place for Starlings. The berries are not ripe, though a Rose-Ringed Parakeet with a strong beak and a stronger digestion is having a go at them. The Starlings prefer to fly down to an elder bush with ripe berries.

A young Blackbird ate rowan fruit in one of the trees on Buck Hill.

A Robin near the bridge found a small larva under a bush.

Another sunflower has come out beside one of the small boathouses, a wonderfully intricate thing.

The joys of an English summer day.

Ahmet Amerikali went to Southwark Park to see the new brood of Little Grebe chicks. There are now three. Their parents are breaking up the larger fish they catch and feeding them pieces -- a useful trick that Great Crested Grebes haven't learnt.