Sunday, 2 October 2022

Pigeon killing at the Round Pond

A Lesser Black-Backed Gull had killed a Feral Pigeon at the Round Pond and was eating it. A young one, probably its offspring, begged for a share. Surprisingly, the adult let it have a go, and even a Magpie wasn't chased away immediately. I think this may be the Lesser Black-Back with pale legs that I have seen hunting in Hyde Park at the Triangle car park.

The original pigeon killer was resting in his usual place on the Dell restaurant roof ...

... while a couple of Carrion Crows finished off the last scraps of his breakfast.

I reckon that between them several Lesser Black-Backed Gulls, one Herring Gull, and the resident pairs of Peregrines and Sparrowhawks must kill and eat at least 500 pigeons a year. It makes no difference to the population of pigeons, which is simply topped up from outside the park.

It took three visits to the Round Pond before the young Little Owl would appear out of the dead tree.

At the second visit an adult male called but I couldn't find it. Also a Great Spotted Woodpecker could be heard and seen in a nearby tree.

There was no sign of an owl at the Speke obelisk, but while I was looking for it a Jay arrived ...

... with a load of acorns ...

... and buried them at the foot of a tree.

A Magpie shone prettily in the afternoon sunshine.

A Grey Wagtail flew from the Serpentine to the edge of the Dell pool.

A Robin came out on a twig beside the Henry Moore sculpture.

The Coal Tit in the Flower Walk waited to be fed.

The Little Grebe could be seen at a distance on the Long Water.

A Cormorant perched on the edge of a pool in the Italian Garden, ignoring the Sunday visitors.

The cross old male Mute Swan has now definitely paired up with his new mate. They washed and preened together under the fountain.

The swan family that has invaded the Long Water are now firmly established on the gravel bank. Only four of the teenagers were here; the fifth was with a parent on the other side of the bridge.

A Migrant Hawker dragonfly perched on the railings at the back of the Lido.

Saturday, 1 October 2022

Robin singing in a bare tree

A Robin sang in a tree in the Flower Walk that had been completely stripped of leaves by moth caterpillars, the remains of whose webs can be seen clinging to the twigs.

The male Little Owl near the Speke obelisk was being nervous again, and there was just time for a hasty shot before he dashed into the hole. I think something has happened to upset him.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was standing idly on the shore, not even looking at the crowd of Feral Pigeons.

This was because he was absolutely full after a heavy breakfast. A Carrion Crow finished off the scanty leftovers.

A young Grey Heron looked for fish below the little waterfall in the Dell.

The fallen poplar on the Long Water was full of Cormorants.

The pair of Moorhens at the Italian Garden wandered around the bowl of the marble fountain, picking at the algae.

The battle between Coots ...

... and Moorhens for possession of the Coot nest at the bridge ...

... has been settled by the family of teenage Mallards, which were busy tearing it apart to find insects.

A pair of Shovellers revolved together on the wind-ruffled water at the Vista. The drake is only just beginning to come out of eclipse and won't have his showy plumage for several weeks.

There were also a couple of Gadwalls. We haven't seen these on the lake recently. They seem to fly in and out at random intervals.

The family of Mute Swans which flew on to the Serpentine a few days ago came under the bridge to the Vista. I hadn't realised there were five hulking teenagers.

The dominant swan saw them and rushed down the lake to deal with them, but against superior forces there was nothing he could do and he had to leave them alone.

Michaelmas daisies in the Rose Garden were still attracting Honeybees collecting the yellow pollen.

I should have taken this picture on Michaelmas, which was the day before yesterday, 29 September.

Friday, 30 September 2022

A day for staying indoors

It was a windy day, and at the very exposed Round Pond the teenage Little Owl didn't feel like coming out of his comfortable hole.

One of the youngest Grey Herons stood on the edge of the Serpentine in a streamlined position to avoid being blown about ...

... while the parents displayed to each other on the island.

Starlings at the Lido restaurant made short work of the remains of a plate of scrambled eggs.

One of the Robins in the Flower Walk waited expectantly in a bush. This one is still nervous and will only come briefly to my had to grab a pine nut and flee. Then it comes back for another in the same way. The calmer Robin farther along the path has realised that this is a waste of effort and stands on my hand until it has picked up as many pine nuts as it can carry.

The family of Magpies on the east side of the Long Water has grown and there are now eight of them. They stay together in the family group.

An oak tree on the Long Water was full of Wood Pigeons.

The closest look I could get from the other side showed that they were eating acorns. They swallow them whole and rely on the stones in their gizzard to grind them up.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was enjoying lunch.

A Cormorant evicted a Herring Gull from a post at Peter Pan before jumping up. There were several untenanted posts, but the joy of bullying couldn't be resisted.

Another Cormorant splashed down inelegantly.

Moorhens like to rest in patches of weeds. This one was making itself comfortable on the edge at Peter Pan.

They have taken to showering in the marble fountain on the edge of the Italian Garden. It seems that the fountain has recently been fitted with a new spray head that breaks up the flow into smaller streams, so it's now more like a shower and less like being drenched with a fire hose.

The Moorhens at the Serpentine outflow are still going down into the weir, where they nested unsuccessfully earlier this year. I don't know what the attraction is other than that it's a safe place to lurk.

The West of England Goose was on the Serpentine was with its new mate. I only realised after I had taken the picture that the mate appears to have blue eyes too. I will try and get a closer shot to make sure.

Thursday, 29 September 2022

Nervous Little Owl

The male Little Owl near the Speke obelisk was unusually nervous today, and fled twice while I was trying to photograph him. This picture is the best I could manage at the second try, of him lurking in the middle of a chestnut tree.

This Green Woodpecker photographed by Richard Oxborough near the statue of Queen Victoria in front of Kensington Palace looks very like the one I videoed near the Physical Energy statue on Wednesday 21 September. They move around over a large area, so it's quite likely to be the same.

A flock of Long-Tailed Tits dashed around in the trees near the bridge.

The female Peregrine returned to the barracks tower after four weeks' absence.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull saw a crowd of Feral Pigeons clustering around someone feeding them, and tried running in and grabbing one. This technique is less effective than his well tried method of catching a pigeon napping, and he got nothing but a few feathers.

A Black-Headed Gull tried to swallow a piece of stale dry Arab flatbread ...

... but admitted defeat and spat it out.

The youngest Grey Herons at the island are still tolerated by their parents, though their appeals for food are ignored and they're expected to fish for themselves. They seem to be doing all right.

The older brood, though, have definitely been kicked out. Here one of them gets shooed off the gravel bank on the Long Water.

A Cormorant preening at Peter Pan shone in a sunny spell.

The single young Moorhen from the boat platform rested with a parent on the jetty at the Lido. Unlike their relatives Coots, they don't dive.

The newly arrived female Mute Swan that arrived in the Italian Garden a few days ago is making progress with the cross old resident male, and he will allow her near him when there is a prospect of being fed.

On the Serpentine, the ultra-aggressive male chased a swan that was just minding its own business near the island.

With at least 40 Pochards on the Long Water, they are currently the most numerous duck in the park. They line the east side of the Long Water, though sometimes they're hard to see under the bushes. It's good that these Red-listed birds have found a safe wintering ground.