Tuesday, 19 October 2021

A flock of Long-Tailed Tits passed through a red oak at the Vista.

A Greenfinch perched in a treetop.

A row of Starlings waited expectantly at the Lido restaurant.

Another lay on a table in a most un-Starlinglike way. We thought it must have an injured leg, but soon it jumped down to the ground and ran around perfectly well.

A pair of Carrion Crows shared the remnants of the pigeon-eating gull's breakfast.

After yesterday's picture of four kinds of gull in a row at Peter Pan, it was a surprise to see what were presumably the same gulls in the same order today.

It's only when you know gulls individually that you realise what creatures of habit they are.

A young Herring Gull on the Serpentine played with a fallen leaf while another investigated a soggy paper bag to see if there was anything edible inside.

The posts at the island were all occupied, so a Cormorant dried its wings on the shore.

This teenage Mute Swan was recently given a plastic ring, and was clearly irritated by it.

The Black Swan was on the Serpentine. It scooped up a beakful of water to preen its splendid plumage.

As the Shoveller drakes settle into their smart new feathers ...

... the Great Crested Grebes are fading into their dull winter plumage.

There was a new rabbit beside the Henry Moore sculpture. The one I photographed on 30 September had often been seen before, an old and tatty creature with one eye. So it looks as if the rabbits may bounce back after being almost wiped out by myxomatosis and foxes.

A Garden Spider ate a fly beside the Serpentine. 

The wind was blowing its web about. On the balustrade at the lake outflow a small spider which I can't identify ran across the stonework.

Monday, 18 October 2021

An atmospheric view of the Serpentine at dawn by David Lacey.

A Robin sang on an arbutus tree in the Rose Garden ...

... and a Dunnock foraged under a bench.

A Jay looked for fallen rowan fruit on Buck Hill.

Starlings gathered on the umbrellas at the Lido restaurant ...

... and one of them hastily swallowed a chip before the others closed in on it.

A young Herring Gull won a whole muffin.

Four kinds of gull in a row at Peter Pan: Lesser Black-Backed, Herring, Common and Black-Headed.

Black-Headed Gulls hung around a Great Crested Grebe chick in the hope of snatching a fish when its parent arrived to feed it.

The number of Cormorants in the park is steadily rising. Today I found 21 on various parts of the lake.

The female Wigeon was beside the Serpentine.

A Gadwall poked around on the gravel strip on the Long Water.

A Shoveller preened at the island.

The Egyptian Geese have begun their winter pastime of standing on sawn-off trees and making a tremendous racket.

A Common Banded Hoverfly (Syrphus ribesii) browsed on on Mexican Orange flowers in the Rose Garden.

Sunday, 17 October 2021

I'm pretty sure we have two female Wigeons in the park, as both yesterday and today I saw one both on the Long Water and on the Serpentine.

The female Teal on the Long Water was still around, here seen asleep next to a Gadwall drake.

A Pochard had a drink at the Vista, showing off the beautiful vermiculated markings on its back.

Paul found a surprisingly large flock of Mandarins at the pond on Putney Heath. There is also a flock of Mandarins in the Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park, but only a dozen or so.

The Black Swan flew down the Serpentine, unfortunately in the wrong direction but I got a distant shot of it coming down in a cloud of spray.

Blondie was on the shore with her new mate. She may have been out-blonded by the new arrivals but she is still one of the park characters, and I have known her since the day she hatched and it was clear that she was paler than other others in the brood.

A Greylag washing on the Serpentine made a big splash followed by a big flap.

A Coot couldn't match that, but did its best.

Another Coot watched two Moorhens fighting at the island, probably intending to join in. Luckily the winning Moorhen chased the other off before the Coot could intervene.

This is one of the two younger Great Crested Grebe chick from the island, now a sturdy teenager and fishing for itself.

The two youngest chicks on the Long Water are still chasing their parents.

A Cormorant perched on an improbably thin twig in a treetop on the island. I have yet to see how they manage to land in these places. They have nothing like the slow flying skills of a Grey Heron and their webbed feet are not ideal for grasping twigs.

A Magpie near the bridge showed off its iridescent feathers.

There is another big stand of ink cap-type mushrooms in the shrubbery at the northwest corner of the bridge.

Paul was coming into the park when he saw something fall out of a tree. He nearly caught it but was very glad he didn't, as it was a pair of Hornets mating. He took a picture of them with his phone.

Saturday, 16 October 2021

The day started wet and then the sun came out. Here is the Robin who lives in the corkscrew hazel in the Flower Walk, seen earlier and later.

A Carrion Crow ignored the drizzle.

Another carried a chestnut away so that it could open the difficult prickly seed case without being disturbed by the other crows.

A Wood Pigeon got as wet as possible at the top of the Dell waterfall.

A Grey Heron perched elegantly on the dead willow near the Italian Garden.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was in his usual place near the Dell restaurant, eyeing a group of bathing Feral Pigeons to see if one would be rash enough to close its eyes.

The number of Cormorants is rising steadily as they take advantage this year's young fish in the lake, and there were seven at the island.

As winter approaches the Egyptian Geese become more territorial for some reason -- these African birds still haven't got the hang of the northern seasons. Here a pair at the Vista are claiming a wide area of grass for themselves.

Another pair cleared an area on the Long Water ...

... and a third pair staged a noisy display on top of the Henry Moore sculpture.

The ultra-blond Egyptians are siblings, not a pair, and make no territorial claims. They seem happy in each other's company. One of them is slightly lame, but nothing is broken so it will probably make a full recovery.

The female Wigeon flew from the Long Water to the Serpentine. She is strangely confident and allows people to get quite close, which happens sometimes with completely wild birds that have never had any contact with humans.

The Shoveller drakes come out of eclipse at different times. This one at the Vista is in full breeding plumage ...

... and this one is still barely recognisable as male. Its yellow eye seems rather dark, and I wonder whether it's an immature drake. Females have brown eyes.

Friday, 15 October 2021

The leaves are turning now. A Magpie perched on an ash tree.

A Carrion Crow on the Buck Hill shelter looked down at a passing wasp.

A tree beside the Serpentine resounded with the cheerful chattering of a flock of Starlings.

A Great Tit came out on the holly tree near the bridge to demand a pine nut.

A Grey Heron stood expectantly under the tree, but I don't have any food suitable for herons.

Seconds after some people at the Dell restaurant left a table with some uneaten pizza on it, Feral Pigeons descended on it.

There is also the lurking local heron, getting bolder by the day.

The two youngest Great Crested Grebe chicks on the Long Water are now at their loudest and most demanding. One was following its father, looking into the water to see if he had found a fish for it. Then it checked a wooden post for snails but found only a bit of twig left over from the Coots' nest that was here earlier. On the far side of the lake the other chick dived after its mother.

The Black Swan uttered its melodious call while preening on the edge of the Serpentine.

A Mute Swan passed low overhead.

The Egyptian and Mandarin friends were grazing together on the edge of the lake.

When I did my monthly bird count on Monday I couldn't see any Pochards at all, which was surprising. Today ten were visible, but I think the total is over twenty. They lurk under the bushes on either side of the Long Water.

While I was taking the photograph above, a female Teal appeared in the viewfinder. They are only occasional visitors here.

After a chilly start the day warmed up enough for a Buff-Tailed Bumblebee to browse on the blossoms of an arbutus tree.

Yesterday Conehead 54 commented on the little metallic green insect in the Rugosa rose in the Rose Garden, which I had thought was a midge. He thinks it's a small hoverfly, but couldn't identify the species from the side view I published. Actually I could only get clear side views, since poking the small camera into the flower didn't produce a sharp enough image of the tiny creature, and also its wings were folded over its back, hiding its abdomen. But maybe this picture of the same insect on a leaf will be more identifiable.

Update: Conehead 54 comments: 'Suspect the hoverfly is a Platycheirus species. P. albimanus is one of the more common now, but can't be sure if it's this from the photo.'