Monday, 16 May 2022

Young Blackcap

Julia found a Blackcap fledgling on Buck Hill near the bridge, and got some fine video and pictures of this shy and elusive bird.

A parent arrived with a caterpillar ...

... and fed the young one.

In the same place I found a Wren furiously scolding a Magpie that had come too close to its nest.

A few yards to the north this must be the Wren I photographed yesterday, with another spider.

On the path below a Robin was gathering insects and caterpillars for its nest on the edge of the Long Water.

The young Robin in the Rose Garden which I photographed on 24 April is now looking more grown up.

The Grey Wagtail in the Italian Garden was hunting on the pavement.

A Blackbird collected worms to take to its nest in the Dell.

A Carrion Crow bathed in the pool at the top of the Dell waterfall.

Virginia photographed a Red Kite very high to the northwest of the Italian Garden. This is exactly where I saw one on 2 January being harassed by crows. Their numbers in London are slowly increasing.

Tom got this picture of a Hobby at Rainham Marshes. Paul heard a Hobby in Kensington Gardens several weeks ago, but it doesn't seem to have chosen the park for a nest site this year. We usually see them here but they often prefer to nest in one of the local garden squares.

A Moorhen at Peter Pan had a confrontation with a Coot. Although the Coot was near its own nest the Moorhen surprisingly won won the faceoff and the Coot retreated.

It's getting hard to keep track of all the broods of geese, but there were three new Greylag goslings beside the Serpentine ...

... and another three beside the Vista.

Three Mandarins turned up at the Vista, two drakes and a female. There has been no sign of females for a while and presumably they have been nesting in trees. But they hardly ever succeed in keeping their ducklings alive for more than a few days, and I have only once seen two young survive and fledge.

A fox ran across the path at the leaf yard and squeezed easily through the chestnut fencing. They can slip through the railings where only dogs the size of a Jack Russell or smaller can manage.

A Common Carder Bee's ginger fluff harmonised with an orange wallflower in the Rose Garden.

Duncan Campbell sent these pictures of bees which he identified as female (left) and male Red Mason Bees, Osmia bicornis. He isn't certain about the male as there is an odd greenish tinge to its eye, but this may be just a reflection from the surroundings.

Sunday, 15 May 2022

Young Long-Tailed Tits out of the nest

The young Long-Tailed Tits from the nest in the gorse bush on Buck Hill are now out and flying around begging their parents to feed them. Here are two of them.

This is the Great Tit nest in an iron bollard beside Rotten Row that Mike Harris told me about yesterday. A parent emerged from feeding the chicks.

A Wren on Buck Hill was also feeding a family. It came back with a spider but found a Magpie near the nest. It darted around from tree to tree to hide the location, chattering furiously.

One of the Blackbirds in the Dell was collecting worms for chicks.

The Mistle Thrush near the Round Pond tried for an insect but only got a tuft of grass.

A Starling looked out from a nest hole in an oak tree.

A good picture from yesterday by Ahmet Amerikali: a Reed Warbler beside the Serpentine.

The Grey Wagtail in the Italian Garden was catching insects with remarkable speed. I looked at the time stamp on my pictures, and between the moment of its arrival at the fountains and the haul shown here was just one minute.

Both the Pied Wagtails were here too.

A closer look at one of them.

The Coot chicks in the pool are now able to feed themselves.

The single Great Crested Grebe chick is growing fast.

The two Canada Goose families were together at the Triangle car park. They chased off a Mallard with ducklings.

Three goslings browsed on weeds at the edge of a shrubbery under the watchful eye of their mother.

A family of Greylags threaded their way carefully through a group of Mute Swans, which are liable to attack them.

The Mallard ducklings pecked at a piece of floating wood. There may have been some edible algae on it, but hardly enough to bother with -- maybe they were just playing.

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Starling at a nest hole

A Starling visited a nest hole in an oak tree. From the flapping display I think it's a female trying to encourage her mate to help with feeding the chicks.

A Robin sang in the Flower Walk, answered by a rival a short way down the path.

But the Blackbird I filmed yesterday wasn't in a singing mood.

A Chiffchaff sang from a treetop near Peter Pan. They are almost impossible to film, as they jump around between each brief burst of song.

The Great Tit chicks in the pump now have fully developed wings. They will be leaving their nest soon.

Neil tells me that the female parent will take food from his hand, so we may be able to follow the family. And Mike Harris has discovered another Great Tit nest in an iron bollard near Rotten Row, which I will investigate tomorrow and see what kind of picture I can get.

The Grey Wagtail in the Italian Garden was busy collecting insects for the young.

This bird is certainly one of the two surviving chicks from last year's nest at the Lido restaurant. Now a young adult, it's beginning to develop a grey bib. Males have a black bib.

A Great Crested Grebe dozed peacefully in the warm sunshine.

The Coots' nest near the Serpentine outflow, a remarkable construction built up from the bottom in 4 feet of water, was washed away by a brisk west wind a couple of days ago. The indomitable Coots have now rebuilt it.

The nest on the old water filter under the Italian Garden has seven eggs in it.

The three chicks in the fountain are still in good order. A parent flapped clumsily out of the planter. They can't climb like agile Moorhens, which walk neatly up the netting.

These Coots are still foolishly trying to build a second nest under the fountain, a place where no nest ever succeeds. At least it saves them from fighting the other pair of Coots nesting here.

A pair of Canada Geese got too close to the Mute Swans' nest east of the Lido, and were attacked by the male swan. This is the ultra-aggressive swan that killed a rival male two years ago. Thanks to Ahmet Amerikali for this dramatic picture.

The Egyptian Geese on the Serpentine still have seven goslings ...

... despite the Herring Gulls which are now back in force -- there were 70 or 80 on the Serpentine. I think that what has encouraged them to return is the appearance of new pedalos on the lake, of which there are now 30 with more still being delivered. These give them a place to perch and socialise.

One of the little Egyptians is always wandering off from its mother as it picks insects off the surface of the water. The young birds need plenty of protein in their diet to grow, and insects supply much of it. But it runs a greater risk of being snatched by a gull. It's the conformists that survive, and an independent spirit puts one in deadly danger.

A Green-Veined White butterfly perched on an oxeye daisy beside the Long Water.

Friday, 13 May 2022

Coot chicks growing up

A Blackbird sang in a treetop above the Flower Walk. Each phrase is slightly different from the one before, unlike a Song Thrush which is happy to be repetitive (see yesterday's blog). 

A Starling on Buck Hill picked insects out of the grass to feed its young in a nest in the eaves of the shelter.

A close-up -- I don't know what this creature is, and it might be a spider.

One of the Robins nesting near the bridge was looking very ruffled from feeding its nestlings.

The two Pied Wagtails that visit the fountains in the Italian Garden aren't a pair and aren't nesting, unlike the Grey Wagtail which is always collecting insects for its young.

A dramatic picture from Virginia of one of the Coots in the Italian Garden seeing off a Grey Heron that was threatening the chicks.

One of the chicks jumped off the fountain kerb on to the pavement and seemed unable to get back. The kerb is about 10 inches high. I put a small log next to it for a step up.

The chicks on the Serpentine are now quite large, but are still calling loudly to be fed.

The two families of Canada Geese that had their goslings mixed up yesterday have sorted them out. Goslings certainly recognise their mother, but I'm not sure about recognition the other way, as Canadas here have sometimes accidentally adopted and brought up Greylag goslings.

The Egyptians that unwisely came up from the Dell still have seven goslings.

The male of the pair in the Italian Garden was alone on the parapet, which probably means that his mate is nesting in a nearby hollow tree.

There is now a small permanent Gadwall population on the Serpentine. He fed while she preened.

A pair of Tufted Ducks on the Serpentine dived for food -- snails, insects and larvae and some water plants.

It's hard not to think of Duck à l'orange.

There is still no sign of cygnets on the Mute Swans' nesting island on the Long Water, and I am getting worried about them. Joan Chatterley sent this pleasing picture of the six cygnets at St James's Park, now growing fast.

Allium flowers of various colours have come out in the Rose Garden. They are very popular with Honeybees.

An interesting picture of midges mating sent by Duncan Campbell. Both of them seem to be infested with small orange-brown mites.