Friday 30 August 2013

There was a small flock of Song Thrushes hunting insects on Buck Hill. The long grass here is full of crickets and grasshoppers, but it is too dense for a thrush to move around in easily, so they hop rapidly up and down the edges of the long patches, finding insects that have strayed out of cover. If you stay still, the birds no longer consider you a threat, and this one came right up and stared curiously at me.

I had actually come up here to try to photograph the thrushes in the rowan trees. But evidently they were so well fed with insects that they felt no need of fruit, and after a few minutes flew over the trees without stopping and across the road into Hyde Park.

Some Carrion Crows were also hunting insects, using a different technique. They would stand stock still on the edge of the long grass until the grasshoppers forgot about them and started wandering around as normal.

As soon as one got close, the crow would make a lightning grab and gulp down the insect in a single movement.

These two small pictures show the Great Crested Grebe family that is visible across the Long Water at the Vista. Watching them for a while revealed two chicks: you can just see the head of the second one below and to the right of the more visible one. The first chick has been given a fish that looks too big to swallow, and I was expecting it to give up and drop the fish, which would then be eaten by one of the parents.

But in fact the hungry chick did manage to swallow its meal, and you can see the tail of the fish as it is engulfed.

This Great Crested Grebe family with three chicks was at the Serpentine island, just offshore from the place where there were three closely spaced nests.

This is the family I saw and photographed yesterday. I had supposed that their nest was in the reed bed at the east end of the Serpentine, but they range around so widely that it is impossible to tell where they are from, and it is just as likely to be one of the island nests.

The Reed Warbler family is still in the reed bed near the Diana Fountain. They are not making much noise, but Paul Turner saw one sitting on the fence on the landward side of the reeds.

The Hobbies were out again today, flying over the whole width of the park and visible above the treetops from time to time.

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