Monday, 5 June 2023

Young Grey Wagtail

A young Grey Wagtail appeared in the Dell. We knew there was a nest but this is the first time I've seen a young one this year.

Above it the resident male Blackbird was preening on a branch ...

... while young Blue Tits ...

... and young Coal Tits chased their parents through the tree.

There were several young Great Tits in the bushes near the Italian Garden.

A few yards away a Song Thrush chattered angrily ...

... at a Jay which was trying to discover where its nest was.

A Chaffinch sang his single-note 'rain song' in a nearby horse chestnut tree.

The male Little Owl at the Round Pond was out in the horse chestnut next to the nest tree. It was a slightly chilly morning and he was fluffed up to keep warm.

Someone is dropping strawberries along the edge of the Serpentine -- I keep seeing them. Most bird are initially attracted by the colour but don't like the watery fruit, but this young Herring Gull enjoyed it.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was looking for a more substantial meal.

I was wrong about the Coots in the Italian Garden having lost one of their seven chicks. All were visible with their parents in various parts of the fountain pool.

The Egyptian Geese with seven goslings near the boat hire platform crossed the road to graze ...

... only to have to hurry back to the water when a dog appeared in the distance.

A female Pochard reclined carelessly in the middle of the pavement. She had to take off in a hurry when the dog arrived.

This is not the one that had ducklings. I saw her at the island, where she dived under a wire basket and surfaced out of sight on the other side. Possibly there are still some ducklings.

Buff-Tailed Bumblebees and a Honeybee browsed on the little mauve flowers of a clump of Lamb's Ears (Stachys byzantina) in the Rose Garden.

Sunday, 4 June 2023

Sunny day

The male Little Owl at the Round Pond basked in the sunshine on the dead tree where his mate is nesting.

He looked around warily, but decided that I wasn't a threat.

The female Peregrine preferred the shaded side of the barracks tower. Probably the aluminium cladding gets uncomfortably hot in summer sunshine.

Two young Long-Tailed Tits and a parent settled for a moment in a holly tree near Mount Gate.

A Grey Heron on the small waterfall in the Dell was reflected in the water below.

The Coots in the Italian Garden have lost a chick -- to a Herring Gull, I was told -- but still have six.

The Black Swan cruised around the Serpentine with his Mute girlfriend, looking for people with bags that might contain bread. She may have noticed that she gets fed more when she's with her exotic companion.

The female swan on the Long Water pulled up algae for her two cygnets, a much sounder diet.

The parents evicted two Egyptian Geese that dared to stand on their nesting island.

There were ten new Egyptian goslings on the gravel strip in the Long Water.

The brood of ten Egyptians on the Round Pond was still intact.

The other family here have lost one and were down to eight. But all in all, on the pond and the main lake, the Egyptians are having a fantastically successful year, far better than any of the other waterfowl. I can't explain why.

The bright sunshine made it possible to get a good view of one of the Backswimmers in the Italian Garden. They need their large red eyes as they are carnivorous and active hunters, taking smaller insects, tadpoles and even young fish. They can deliver a painful prod to your hand with their sharp proboscis.

A male Common Blue Damselfly ...

... and what I thought was a female sunned themselves in the grass near the Round Pond.

Update: David Element has pointed out that it isn't a female -- though these do come in various colours. He says it's an immature male and will go blue later. 

The Serpentine pavilion by Lina Ghotmeh is now complete though not yet open. It's good to have a recognisable and usable pavilion that keeps the rain off for a change.

Saturday, 3 June 2023

The Little Owl reappears

The male Little Owl at the Round Pond has been hard to see recently, but this afternoon he showed up in a horse chestnut tree.

The young Starlings are now independent and were scavenging at the Lido restaurant as if they had been doing it for years.

A fine picture by Tom of a young Coal Tit in a dead hawthorn tree in the Flower Walk.

Seven Coot chicks in a planter in the Italian Garden fountains were fed by their parents.

The six chicks at the  bridge were wandering all over the place but I managed to get one shot of all of them in the nest.

A pair of Tufted Ducks dived for food at the edge of the Serpentine.

The four Mallard ducklings near the Lido were on their own again. Their mother is having a very hard time evading the lust-crazed drakes.

A Greylag Goose chewed a strawberry experimentally, didn't like it, and spat it out.

Three Canada x Greylag hybrids have turned up for the moulting season and were at the island.

The eleven Egyptian goslings sprawled over the path. They are quite calm about people, but as soon as a dog appears in the distance their mother makes a tremendous racket to call them into the water.

The seven were also basking on the edge of the lake.

A Speckled Wood butterfly perched on a lime leaf sticky with honeydew from aphids.

I think this dragonfly is a Black-Tailed Skimmer with its blue powdery coating very patchy.

There was also an Emperor in the Italian Garden but I couldn't get a decent picture.

A female Blue-Tailed Damselfly was well camouflaged on the lichen-crusted kerb of an Italian Garden pool. Females come in a wide variety of colours, unlike the uniformly black and blue males.

The Stachys byzantina in the Rose Garden is alive with bees. This is a Common Carder.

I thought this ginger bee on a bramble flower was also a Common Carder when I was photographing it, but its abdomen isn't hairy enough. Conehead 54 reckons it's a slightly unusual-looking Honeybee.

Sunlight picked out a small hoverfly under a dark tree by the Dell. it looks like a Eupeodes species, maybe E. luniger though the characteristic forward-curving tips of the stripes aren't very clear in this picture.

Friday, 2 June 2023

Busy Blackbird

A Blackbird dashed up and down the grass verge of the Flower Walk collecting insects for his nestlings.

A young Long-Tailed Tit paused on a branch at Mount Gate.

I went back to the Wood Pigeon nest in the Rose Garden which I filmed yesterday, because Jim thought the video showed three birds. I had only noticed one adult and one young one. Anyway, today the young bird was alone in the nest.

The male Peregrine was on the barracks tower looking rather dishevelled.

There is one more Coot chick in the nest at the bridge, bringing the total up to six hatched over more than a fortnight. There may have been seven briefly yesterday, but one seems to have gone missing.

A Moorhen stood on the small waterfall in the Dell. I've only seen a single one of the pair over the past few days, and hope that this means there is a female nesting somewhere out of sight.

Four Mallard ducklings cried plaintively because they couldn't see their mother. She was away because she was being harassed by a drake. She ame back, but the drake was still being a nuisance. Mallard drakes are sex-mad and completely irresponsible about the welfare of the young.

Sad to say, the Pochard at the island has lost two ducklings and is down to three.

The Black Swan on the Serpentine preened his unexpected white flight feathers before going off to find his Mute girlfriend.

The female swan at the island was out with her four small cygnets, touting for food.

The sunshine has brought up the algae in the Italian Garden pools, attracting Red-Eyed Damselflies.

Buff-Tailed Bumblebees browsed on catmint flowers in the Rose Garden. I think this is a fancy Nepeta cultivar and not old-fashioned catnip, but I didn't have a cat handy to try it on.

A Common Carder bee preferred a clump of bigroot geranium.

Sightings of hard-to-identify bees continue. Here are three more pictures from Duncan Campbell, all probably of Mining Bees and all in the Rose Garden. This one may be a Short-Fringed Mining Bee, Andrena dorsata.

But this one in a pink rose is a mystery ...

... and so is this one on a euphorbia. It's very small.

One of the uncertain bees in Tuesday's insect supplement is also a Mining Bee, of which there seems to be an endless variety in the bee paradise of the Rose Garden.

The exhibition Webs of Life is now open at the Serpentine Gallery. It includes many dodecahedral fantasy bird boxes -- the artist Tomás Saraceno is hoping that some of them will be occupied but the gallery has left it a bit late in the year. What appears to be a Pied Wagtail on the left of this tower of boxes is actually a metal cutout, one of a number of silhouette birds and beasts in the exhibition.