Friday, 23 July 2021

The female Little Owl was moving around quite a lot, and also calling so that I found her in several places. Here she is near the Speke obelisk.

The male owl was in a lime tree, found because there was a furious Wren scolding him from the bottom of the tree. But he wouldn't come into sight to have his picture taken.

A Chaffinch was also in an angry mood, because there was a Carrion Crow under another lime where evidently he had his nest.

More loud scolding came from a Rose-Ringed Parakeet as a squirrel climbed past its nest hole.

Mark Williams was at the Welsh Harp reservoir and got a good picture of a Whitethroat.

A Grey Heron perched in a treetop on the Serpentine island to get away from the insistent demands of a chick in the nest below. The nest can't be seen but you can hear the young bird clacking its beak.

One of the young herons from the first nest was fishing from the gravel strip in the Long Water. It crossed paths with a Lesser Black-Backed Gull.

It was the turn of the male Great Crested Grebe at the island to carry the four chicks while his mate found food for them.

The single grebe chick from the nest near the bridge, seen looking down from the bridge parapet. You can see the unique swimming action of a grebe, with its fringed toes acting like turbine blades.

This is the widowed grebe whose mate died a few weeks ago, drifting aimlessly along the edge of the Serpentine.

Another solitary bird: the cygnet that has apparently been abandoned by its parents was poking around the Coot nest at the Dell restaurant, probably looking for snails.

The Mallard in the reeds under the parapet of the Italian Garden has only one duckling left. There are hardly any big gulls on the Long Water, and I suspect pike as the culprit.

The Moorhens here have done only slightly better, with two chicks left.

In contrast, the ten young Greylag Geese on the Serpentine are all in good shape, now teenagers.

The Greylag with white patches was also here.

An Emperor dragonfly hunted over the Long Water.

Thursday, 22 July 2021

Tom has found a Little Owl family in Kensington Gardens, the first good sighting we've had for months. This is his picture of the male in a tree near the Speke obelisk ...

... and here is mine of the female near the leaf yard. There was at least one chick calling from a tree near the obelisk.

The female was being harassed by Chaffinches. Sorry about the mechanical noise -- it's the leaf siever in the leaf yard, which can be heard a mile away and has spoilt many a video.

A young Jay in a tree beside the Long Water pestered its parent to feed it. It's quite big enough to feed itself now.

A Great Spotted Woodpecker called from a tree near the bridge.

This is one of the parents of the two young Robins near the Albert Memorial.

A Great Tit stared down imperiously from a nearby twig.

Ahmet Amerikali took this picture of a young Dunnock in Southwark Park.

The Polish Black-Headed Gull with ring code T8YT, a regular visitor, is back on the Serpentine from its summer breeding ground.

The third pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull called triumphantly beside its latest victim near the Triangle car park.

This Herring Gull has only one foot, but is having no difficulty catching and eating crayfish.

A Cormorant fishing in the fountain pools in the Italian Garden got out to dry its wings.

Another fishing in the Long Water caught a perch, and needed to turn it round to swallow head first because of the fish's spiny dorsal fin. Usually Cormorants can do this quickly and neatly, but for some reason this bird was having a hard time managing it.

The Great Crested Grebe chick from the willow near the bridge was back on the nest with a parent. It's getting quite big.

A Mallard brought five newly hatched ducklings out of the reed bed below the Italian Garden.

A pair of Mute Swans and their three cygnets enjoyed the long grass on the shore near the Serpentine island. The male parent became rather insistent on being fed.

Lastly, another picture by Tom of a Tawny Owl in Richmond Park. Although we have two pairs of Tawnies here -- one in the trees around the greenhouses, the other near the Diana memorial playground -- they are almost impossible to photograph. But we live in hope.

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

The Great Crested Grebes that nested behind the wire baskets at the island have four chicks. A parent brought one of them a feather, which grebes eat to keep their insides from being injured by fishbones.

The Great Crested Grebe chick from the nest under the willow ...

... came out on to the Serpentine with a parent to get closer to the best fishing ground.

A Grey Heron stood elegantly in the top of the willow.

A Moorhen chick from the nest at the Bluebird Boats platform swam over to its parent to be fed.

Some of the Canada Geese are still regrowing their flight feathers, which makes them itchy and irritable. They were washing and flapping to make themselves more comfortable.

There were five Red Crested Pochards on the gravel strip in the Long Water, four drakes in eclipse and a female in the middle.

A Carrion Crow panted in the heat.

The two young crows on Buck Hill had the sense to stay in the shade. As usual they were making a racket.

The usual Coal Tit in the Flower Walk came down to be fed. It will tolerate being photographed if it gets a pine nut afterwards.

Two Blackbirds appeared, an adult female in the Flower Walk ...

... and a young one in the Dell.

Several Blackcaps were still singing near the leaf yard.

A Red Admiral butterfly near the Dell was apparently doing wing exercises. Actually I don't know why butterflies do this.

A Peacock butterfly had a colourful background in the Flower Walk.

Buff-Tailed Bumblebees were enjoying the anemones.

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

On a hot day, a Feral Pigeon cooled off with a shower in the Huntress fountain in the Rose Garden.

A Jay at the foot of Buck Hill was pestered by a young one.

A Wren looked out from the bushes.

Long-Tailed Tits passed through the trees near the Albert Memorial.

One of the local pair of Coal Tits looked down from a branch.

A Grey Heron stood on the Diana landing stage in the odd pose with wings akimbo that herons adopt when basking in sunshine. Perhaps this brings parasites to the surface of its feathers where the heron can pick them off.

A heron was using the now abandoned Coots' nest at the bridge as a fishing platform.

The Great Crested Grebes that nested on the fallen poplar in the Long Water are nesting again. Their one chick from the previous nest will still be fed while they are sitting, but it's going to have to become independent sooner than usual.

It was busy catching flies in front of the nest.

At the island, an adult Coot caught a crayfish. A young Coot grabbed it, dodged its parent, and swallowed it.

The Mute Swans' nest at the boathouse is also abandoned, and a sunflower is growing in the middle, evidently from a seed that someone was trying to feed to the swans.

A close-up of the young Common Carp in the Italian Garden fountain, tiny replicas of their parents.

A Black-Tailed Skimmer dragonfly perched on a twig where some trapped insects dangled from a spider's web. It probably didn't see them, and made no effort to eat them.

A Common Blue damselfly perched on a grass stem, ignoring gravity. Thanks to Neil for this picture.

A yellow hypericum flower was visited by a Buff-Tailed Bumblebee.

Monday, 19 July 2021

Blackcaps are still singing very late in the year after the other songbirds have almost all fallen silent.

There were two young Robins near the Albert Memorial, just getting their red feathers.

A young Long-Tailed Tit was panting in the heat.

A young Carrion Crow insistently begged to be fed, annoying its parent which pushed it away.

The young Grey Herons from the two nests on the island were spaced out around the edge, fishing behind the wire baskets.

The Great Crested Grebe chick from the east end of the island was being looked after by its father. Thanks to Mateusz of Bluebird Boats for taking me out to get these close-up shots.

Its mother was away finding fish for it. 

There is a new pair of grebes on the Long Water. They were looking at a nest site on the fallen poplar at the Vista, where another pair had nested earlier.
These were farther down the lake with their single chick, so the inevitable territorial dispute hadn't yet started.  

The chick from the nest under the willow, photographed by Neil. 

A young Coot at Peter Pan enviously eyed a Black-Headed Gull which had caught a crayfish. 

The Mute Swans on the Long Water and their four cygnets had a preening session on the artificial island where they nested.

The youngest Greylag gosling was feeling hot, and was sprawled out in the shade with its little wings extended.

The lone Mallard duckling at Peter Pan is beginning to get proper feathers.

Seen in the Italian Garden fountains: the Pond Skater (Gerris lacustris) can run on the surface of the water because its legs are covered with fine hairs that spread the load, so it doesn't break the surface. It 'rows' with its middle legs, steers with its hind legs, and uses its short front legs to seize dead or dying insects.

This one found an insect that was too large and lively to catch, and went after a smaller prey.

Two fine insect pictures from Neil: a Brimstone butterfly on a buddleia blossom ...

... and an Eyed Hawk Moth caterpillar well camouflaged on a hazel leaf.