Wednesday, 14 April 2021

More herons have arrived at the island, and the total number in the park is at least twelve. Here are some of them, starting with the three young ones still in the nest.

It was hard to count them, as they were flying around.

Virginia got a fine picture of one of the young herons flapping its huge but still unserviceable wings.

Neil, Will and I looked for the Little Owl but didn't find it. But there was a lesson in how much you can see if you stay in the same place for a few minutes. A Blue Tit was starting to occupy a nest box -- remarkable as these haven't been cleared out for many years. It spent a lot of time in the long grass, not a place where you usually see them.

It emerged with a bit of spider web which it took to the box.

There were also a Robin ...

... a Wren ...

... and a Chiffchaff high in a tree ...

... and several Great Tits and a Blackbird too far away to get a reasonable picture.

Beside the Long Water, two Blackcaps were in dispute over the ownership of a small tree. No chance of getting them both in focus in the same picture.

Both a Pied and a Grey Wagtail could be seen running along the edge of the Serpentine looking for insects.

A Magpie washed in the little pool in the Dell.

The Black Swan, now happily in a relationship, was cruising around the Long Water with her ruffles up looking regal.

A Mute Swan has somehow got inside the fence on the island to make a nest. Hugh will be visiting when he can arrange a boat to see what's happening.

A Mandarin drake trotted along the edge at the Vista.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

A Little Owl has been seen at the southwest corner of the leaf yard by Ahmet Amerikali, who sent this picture.

This is probably the owl that was seen a couple of months ago flying from near the Speke obelisk to the swamp cypress tree on the edge of the Long Water -- or, of course, its mate.

A Blackcap sang from a nearby treetop.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull seized a Feral Pigeon at the Lido restaurant and dragged it into the water to kill it. But two Coots, seeing the struggle. instinctively joined in ...

... and in the ensuing scrap the pigeon got away.

A Coot has started nesting on the wire basket of twigs near the bridge, which acts as a fish hatchery. The twigs have recently been replenished by Hugh Smith the Wildlife Officer, and some are protruding above the water level. The Coot was doing its best to break off the ends and add them to the nest.

The pair of Great Crested Grebes that nest at the east end of the island were hanging around the nest site, though they haven't started building yet.

The Mute Swans nesting in a dangerous place next to the Lido restaurant terrace are at least comfortable. They have been given a generous portion of cut reeds, which they were arranging. A Moorhen searched for insects. Even the aggressive swans don't mind this harmless little bird.

The Egyptian Goose pair on the Serpentine that had eleven goslings is now down to eight, but the one that originally had eight has somehow managed to keep them all despite the circling gulls and stealthy crows.

The three goslings at the Triangle car park are still all right, and were eating weeds on the edge of the shrubbery.

But their blond father has been ousted by another male. which took advantage of the father having been injured by a dog. The ousted male was sitting disconsolately a few yards up the shore. The intruder attacks him if he tries to return, and in his reduced condition he can't win.

The Egyptians at the Henry Moore sculpture still have four, here seen through the railings at the bottom of the enclosure.

The other family on the Long Water, also with four, were in exactly the same place as where I photographed them yesterday. There must be some tasty weeds here.

Sunshine showed off the purple iridescence of a Tufted drake's head.

A fox dozed in its favourite spot, a fallen willow opposite Peter Pan.

Four good pictures by Tom. A Carrion Crow rips up a Polish cigarette packet to see if there's anything edible inside.

The other three are from Regent's Park. The male Kestrel of the pair that live in a Kestrel box put up by Tony Duckett, who feeds them every evening.

A Little Grebe. We do have at least one on the Long Water here, but the furtive little bird is seldom seen.

And a remarkable shot of Long-Tailed Tits mating.

Monday, 12 April 2021

Hugh Smith the Wildlife Officer found a Tawny Owl near the Ranger's Lodge garden. Although it was almost dark he managed to get a brief video on his smartphone of it hooting.

The three Egyptian goslings on the Serpentine cuddled up to their mother.

Oddly, she was with another goose that was not her mate. He is feeling a bit down after being attacked by a dog. He can walk all right and will recover, but clearly his injuries hurt and he was sitting some distance away.

The four Egyptian goslings on the Long Water came ashore among some rather wilted daffodils. The flowers are older than they are.

The Black Swan was mating again with her new Mute mate. She has been seen making a nest on the shore of the Long Water, but doesn't seem to be settled down at the moment.

The swans nesting in a dangerous place at the Lido restaurant had four eggs yesterday. Thanks to Leona Tan for this picture.

The Pochard x Tufted Duck hybrid was at the Vista again, having a preen. Its head is darker than that of a normal Pochard and it has a slight trace of a tuft. Its eye is more orange than a Pochard's bright red, and its wing coverts are darker.

There was also a Mandarin drake.

A Great Crested Grebe is nesting on the Long Water.

The odd couple of a Herring Gull and a Lesser Black-Backed Gull moaned affectionately at each other. The display annoyed a Coot, which attacked them twice.

The pigeon-eating gull nodded upwards to his mate. It looks to a human eye as if he's in a huff, but in fact it's a gesture of affection.

A Grey Heron did a pinpoint landing on a branch of the fallen horse chestnut tree in the Long Water.

Another poked into an urn at the Italian Garden. I think it was drinking. The urns are almost solid stone with just a shallow depression in the top, and their drain holes got blocked up years ago, so they fill with rainwater.

A male Pied Wagtail ran around on the tarmac path at the edge of the Round Pond. It it wasn't just picking up grit. They seem to be able to find small creatures in this unpromising place.

A female hunted in the new grass beside the Serpentine. This is getting a bit long now for them to be able to run around easily.

Tom was at Rainham Marshes, and got a fine picture of a Ring Ouzel eating hawthorn fruit.

I've never seen one in the park. There was a rumour of one a few years ago, but it turned out to be a Blackbird with a white patch.

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Eleven Mallard ducklings have appeared at the east end of the Serpentine. I wish it were a safer place.

The eleven Egyptian goslings hatched at the Dell restaurant have come out on the lake.

The families with eight goslings ...

... and with three are still in good order.

The Canada Goose nest in the reeds near the Long Water is definitely a going concern. It's been occupied for several days.

The Coots under the willow near the bridge were busy with their nest. It's odd that there are no Coot chicks anywhere. The two hatched in the open on the Long Water disappeared quickly, probably eaten by gulls. The prolific Egyptians have the advantage of nesting in tree holes.

The Grey Herons' nest where there was a single chick which sadly perished has had a bird standing in it for several days now, probably a sign that the pair are ready to try again.

Meanwhile the three chicks at the west end of the island are thriving. We are keeping our fingers crossed for them.

Sad to say, the Mistle Thrushes nesting near the Round Pond have certainly lost their chicks, probably to a Carrion Crow. But they are undaunted and the male was singing a short way off. I'm sure they'll try again, and this time they have a better chance because the trees are coming into leaf.

It seems that the Politburo have relaxed their ban on racing model yachts on the pond.

A Blackbird foraged in the debris left by felling and cutting up a tree. The broken twigs and fragments of wood are quickly populated by insects to provide it with a meal.

A Grey Wagtail searched for insects in a pile of flotsam on the shore by the Lido restaurant. It's often seen in this productive spot.

The other Grey Wagtail was seen this morning in the Italian Garden. Here's a picture of it taken by Neil a couple of days ago.

A Wren appeared on a branch in the woodland at the foot of Buck Hill ...

... and two Long-Tailed Tits provided photo opportunities, one near the leaf yard ...

... and the other near the Albert Memorial.

I went home through Hyde Park Gate, a select and secluded residential street to the southwest of the memorial. There's a little circular garden here, where a Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming on a tree.