Saturday, 8 August 2020

An adult Hobby called from a plane tree behind the Old Police House.

The young Sparrowhawk was making quite a noise from its usual place farther up the hill.

The Little Owls on Buck Hill were also calling from their usual lime trees. The mother was preening ...

... and the young one was just hanging around till the park closed and its parents could go hunting and feed it.

There was also one very faint call from the north end of the hill, which I think was the father keeping in touch with his family. He seems to prefer being a good distance away.

A Carrion Crow bathed in the Serpentine.

There were a few Goldfinches in the treetops in the Rose Garden. They are never very numerous in the park, although in other places nearby you often see a lot of them. I saw over 200 in Brompton Cemertery a few years ago.

There was also a Wren scolding some predator I couldn't see, probably a Magpie.

Ahmet Amerikali got a fine shot of a young Goldcrest near the bridge ...

... and Mark Williams got a good view of a young Blackbird.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull stared intently at a group of pigeons on the shore, waiting for his chance.

A Grey Heron surprised some people walking across the bridge by landing right next to them.

Until now the Great Crested Grebes near the bridge have kept their chicks in sheltered places on the Long Water and have gone some distance to find fish for them. Here is one being fed yesterday next to the bridge -- thanks again to Ahmet for the photograph.

Today they considered that the young grebes are big enough to be safe in open water, and took them to where the fish are. This saved a lot of travelling, and everyone was well fed and could have a rest.

Someone was complaining yesterday about not having seen a Painted Lady butterfly in the park this year. Sure enough, today one turned up near the Lido.

Friday, 7 August 2020

It was a hot day. A Carrion Crow was panting in the parched grass.

But another one at the Lido was looking perfectly comfortable and staring at me until I gave it a peanut.

 A Feral Pigeon sunbathed.

A Magpie came down to examine the remains of another pigeon that had fallen victim to the notorious Lesser Black-Backed Gull. This had been picked almost clean, and it only found a pitiful shred of meat and hopped away in disgust.

A Rose-Ringed Parakeet near the leaf yard looked disgruntled because no one had turned up to feed it.

I met Ahmet Amerikali, who was diligently photographing small birds lurking in the shade of the shrubbery near the bridge, and will probably have some good pictures for us tomorrow. All I could get was a female Chaffinch.

One of the Hobbies was distantly visible, heading off towards Kensington Gardens.

The young Sparrowhawk was calling incessantly from the usual plane tree near New Lodge. It was only partly visible through the leaves and I couldn't get a usable picture, so here is a good one taken by Takaki Nemoto a few days ago.

A young Grey Heron in the Italian Garden was looking for fish in a fountain pool, but they wouldn't come within reach ...

... so it flew over to one of the planters and panted to cool down.

No one was feeding the Mute Swans at Peter Pan either, so they had to eat algae, which of course are much better for them than the rubbish the visitors give them.

One way of keeping cool. This was photographed across the Long Water, looking westward at the Vista.

A shoal of young carp rushed along the edge of the Serpentine. They didn't seem to have any motive for this -- maybe they just felt the need for speed.

Some young perch, identifiable by their stripes, had already arrived at the end of the lake.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

A quick round of the park before I went to Rainham Marshes.

The two young Great Crested Grebes at the bridge practised fishing. They didn't catch anything, but it was good to see them improving their skills before the awful day when their parents stop feeding them.

The Black Swan was in a group of Mute Swans, displaying and calling. The Mute Swans didn't know what to make of this spectacle, since they have different displays and, though not really mute, generally restrict themselves to grunts and hisses.

A very short video by Duncan Campbell of the Egyptian Goose family which has taken up residence on the traffic island at Marble Arch, and which shows no sign of leaving after more than 100 days. (It's short because people kept walking in front of the camera.) They are wandering among the large group of bronze African Elephants that currently ornaments the island. Being African birds themselves, and found over much of the continent, in the wild they probably encounter the real thing.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull's mate was displaying hunting behaviour again, though the wary pigeons gave her a wide berth. It seems that she envies her mate's skill and would like to show him that she's just as good. He was watching her from the Dell restaurant roof.

The young Little Owl came out in the usual tree after the early drizzle had stopped.

A young male Blackbird is just getting his first coat of black feathers.

A family of Blackcaps were bustling around in a bush beside the Long Water.

At Rainham it was not much of a day for birds, though there's always something to see.

Three Little Egrets bickered mildly along the water's edge at the Shooting Butts hide (the name refers to the marshes' former use as a military practice ground). The first clip also shows two Black-Tailed Godwits, which flew away before I could make a separate video of them and I couldn't find them again.

Just one Little Grebe was on view ...

... and one teenage Great Crested Grebe, older than the ones in the park, which was by itself catching insects.

A female Kestrel perched on the electric fence.

Three seals were distantly visible on the other side of the wide Thames estuary, blurred by haze. I think they are Harbour Seals, but there are also Grey Seals here.

There was no shortage of Marsh Frogs in the little drainage ditches.

A Gatekeeper butterfly perched on a globe thistle ...

... and a Small Tortoiseshell on a teasel.

There was a female Black-Tailed Skimmer dragonfly on the path ...

... and also this ornamental little creature, which I think is a Brassica Shieldbug (Eurydema oleracea).

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

The young Sparrowhawk was calling from the top of the plane tree by New Lodge, but was invisible in the leaves when I arrived. However, Takaki Nemoto had been there a few minutes earlier and got a fine shot of it in flight.

It was windy, and the young Little Owl had come down from its usual branches and was invisible in the interior of the tree. Its mother had also retreated inside one of the tall lime trees next to the nest tree, but there was a narrow window in the leaves through which she could be seen.

The usual Robin was waiting for me to fill up the feeder in the Rose Garden.

A view of the Grey Wagtail on the rocks at the top of the Dell waterfall.

The sunshine was warm enough for the Feral Pigeons to sunbathe.

A Great Crested Grebe on the Serpentine preened and flapped to settle its wing feathers.

The chicks at the west end of the island were happily swimming and no longer trying to climb on their parent's back.

The older chicks from the other end of the island were practising the greeting ceremony.

The grebe at the Diana fountain reed bed was sitting patiently on the nest. Actually it's not such a task as it is for some birds, since the pair take turns on the nest and relieve each other every half hour so that they can go fishing.

The Moorhen chicks by the bridge are growing fast.

In fact they are not the only Moorhen chicks at the bridge. This teenager was resting on the edge.

The Black Swan's ruffles were ruffled some more by the breeze.

One of the three Mute Swan cygnets on the Long Water flapped its tiny undeveloped wings.

A gaggle of Greylag Geese grazed near the Rima relief, with one keeping a lookout. Now that they can fly again they can range farther from the lake without worrying unduly about dogs.

The cardoons in the Rose Garden attract Honeybees as well as the bumblebees. They are quite hard to photograph as they tend to vanish into the purple spikes. Update: Conehead 54 tells me that the other bee is a Red-Tailed Bumblebee.

A Red Admiral butterfly clung firmly to a leaf as it was tossed around by the wind.