Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Today's blog post will be a bit late, probably up by 9.30pm British summer time. I've been to Rainham Marshes.

Monday, 20 September 2021

A Grey Wagtail enjoyed a bathe on the edge of the waterfall in the Dell.

Two days ago a Spotted Flycatcher was seen in the same place. The person who took this fine picture has asked to remain anonymous.

A Sparrowhawk crossed the Long Water.

The female Little Owl was on view in the horse chestnut tree by the Serpentine Gallery.

It was surprising to see three House Martins over the Serpentine. I thought they were all on their way to Africa.

A flock of Long-Tailed Tits went through the trees near the bridge.

A Carrion Crow found some leftovers at the Lido restaurant.

Some of the Grey Herons are sadly dirty looking on the bit at the top of the neck where they can't reach to preen. Others manage to keep it respectable, evidently by using their feet. The heron was on top of the Henry Moore sculpture, a favourite lookout point.

A neater heron polished its bill on a dead branch. But their bills do get a bit scruffy at the upper end.

The two Great Crested Grebe chicks on the Serpentine are beginning to get black crests.

A Wigeon is a fairly rare visitor to the lake. I think this one is a drake in eclipse.

A Shoveller shovelled on the Serpentine, filtering tiny edible creatures from the water with its enormous bill. This is a drake just beginning to come out of eclipse.

The male Mute Swan in the Italian Garden sprawled inelegantly on the kerb of a pool, clearly aware that he owns the place. There is a pair here now.

The old Canada x Greylag hybrid goose rested its weary legs on the edge of the Serpentine.

A female Southern Hawker dragonfly laid eggs on a dead iris leaf in the Italian Garden.

Tom was at Rainham, where he got good pictures of a male ...

...and female Bearded Tit.

Sunday, 19 September 2021

The day started fine, and the female Little Owl at the Serpentine Gallery was out in the horse chestnut tree ...

... but it soon began to rain heavily. A Robin sheltered under a bush in the Rose Garden.

Blackbirds don't mind getting wet. Rain brings up worms.

It makes no difference to water birds. A Shoveller cruised under the bridge. This is probably a drake in eclipse.

A female Mandarin followed an Egyptian Goose wherever it went. Several species of duck seem to have the habit of shadowing larger birds.

One of the two younger Great Crested Grebe chicks on the Serpentine prodded a parent in the hope of making it dive.

A Moorhen strolled over the flooded platform of Bluebird Boats.

After the rain eased off, a Starling returned to the Lido restaurant terrace and sang quietly to itself before it saw a chance to grab some scraps.

Others were working over the ants' nest in the Diana fountain enclosure. Starlings feed here constantly and I'm surprised there are any ants left.

A Grey Wagtail hunted along the edge of the Serpentine.

A Jackdaw perched on the dead tree near the bridge, another useful source of insects.

A Carrion Crow ate a Granny Smith apple which the Rose-Ringed Parakeets had ignored. Parakeets much prefer red apples.

Young Mute Swans ate the hard black fruits of an alder tree overhanging the Long Water. These fruits are popular with finches, which pick out the seeds, but I've never seen a swan eating one before.

A closer shot to show that it really was the fruit the swans were after.

Tom was at Rainham Marshes yesterday and sent some splendid pictures of a female Kestrel who was very relaxed about being photographed. Here she is having a dust bath (it was dry yesterday) ...

... hovering ...

... and eating an unfortunate Harvest Mouse.

Saturday, 18 September 2021

A big swimming event on the Serpentine was of no interest to two Cormorants.

But both families of Great Crested Grebes took shelter on the opposite side of the island from the hundreds of swimmers thrashing by. This is the pair with two chicks.

There are plenty of fish here, so they weren't going short. A chick grabbed a fish from its father ...

... and swallowed it.

Some of the Coots which normally cruise in the middle of the lake had sought refuge on the moored pedalos.

A pair of Mute Swans were not going to give up their territory to mere humans, and struck a challenging pose in front of their teenage cygnets.

The Black Swan wasn't bothered. It fished up a crayfish claw and ate it. Swans eat snails, so evidently they don't mind if their food is on the hard side.

Away from the noise, a Moorhen chick wandered over the water lilies in the Italian Garden.

The Peregrine was preening on the crane. The crane was in use -- you can see the pulley going round -- but the bird didn't mind.

The female Little Owl at the Serpentine Gallery peered round a branch.

It's hard to see what this Grey Heron hoped to gain by perching in the middle of dense willow leaves.

A flock of Long-Tailed Tits went through the trees near the bridge.

There were several Chiffchaffs in the holly tree, hard to get a clear view of through the twigs ...

... and a Wood Pigeon eating unripe berries.

Common Wasps flew in and out of their nest hole near the Italian Garden.

A Batman Hoverfly (Myathropa florea) explored a Japanese Anemone.

A Honeybee gathered pollen from a Gaillardia flower.

Friday, 17 September 2021

One of the two newly fledged Grey Herons prowled around in the Dell and found something edible, but I'm not sure what it was. Not a fish, not a rat, could it be a very large slug?

Before this they had been in the nest making a terrible racket, while a parent -- looking very tatty -- perched in the top of the tree ignoring the racket.

Jays were also hoping to be fed, but by me. One waited in the Flower Walk ...

... and another in the long grass on Buck Hill.

Starlings circled around the Dell restaurant terrace hoping for scraps from a table. Some passed the time by raiding an ants' nest, others by bathing in the lake.

The Little Owls near the Speke obelisk are no longer easy to find by going to their nest tree. They may be anywhere from the leaf yard to the Bayswater Road, and the only way to find them is by ear. A Coal Tit ...

... and a Wren ...

... were scolding loudly in the bottom of a lime tree, but if an owl was above them it was hidden in the leaves.

The owls in the big horse chestnut at the north end of the Serpentine Gallery are easier to find. The female was calling and I soon found her having a scratch.

The female Peregrine was back on the crane. By the way, the crane is on the south side of Knightsbridge near the dark red glazed tile facade of the old Hyde Park Corner tube station entrance.

Carrion Crows and a young Herring Gull bickered over the last scraps of the pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull's breakfast ...

... while the famous gull loafed around looking well fed and complacent. Manga fans on my YouTube channel say that the dots on his eye are a sharingan, and he gets a new dot for every thousand pigeons he consumes.

A Small White butterfly perched on a Verbena bonariensis in the Rose Garden.

A Buff-Tailed Bumblebee perched on a Salvia flower. There is a bewildering variety of Salvia in the park. I think this is S. uliginosa, which means 'marshy'.

Tom was at Rainham Marshes, where he got a splendid picture of a Weasel ...

... and a Cattle Egret -- these are now becoming quite numerous there.