Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Three Hobbies swept in from the Serpentine, a parent and two juveniles, and the young ones were parked in the usual place.

The parent went off towards the Round Pond in search of food for them. I think it may have been trying to catch House Martins, of which there are still a few. The young birds were moving around quite a lot and I could see that their undersides were still pale, without the red patch 'trousers' of an adult Hobby. Here is a closer look at one of them.

At the moment the Hobbies may often be found in the double avenue of plane trees between the Physical Energy statue and the Albert Memorial. They are on the east side of the path, in the eastern row of trees, usually near the top of one of two extra tall ones about 75 and 100 yards from Physical Energy, and can best be seen from the open grass on the east side of this row. They are calling quite often, which makes them easier to find.

Later, I was walking along the bottom of Buck Hill and saw some Mistle Thrushes. As I was going up to photograph them they flew hastily into the shelter of a tree, and looking up I saw a small raptor which I thought was one of the Hobbies. But when it got nearer it started hovering, and it was a Kestrel. It looked very ginger and I thought it was male, but the picture shows the barred brown tail of a female.

The Little Owl was back in his usual place after two days' absence.

The three Great Crested Grebe chicks at the Serpentine island were being fed fish at a remarkable rate by both their parents.

They have grown noticeably in the past few days, and no wonder.

The young Blackbirds in the Flower Walk have started feeding themselves. This one was eating a wasp, gripping it securely by the middle to avoid being stung. It didn't seem to suffer any ill effects.

Near the bridge, a Robin was pecking at a miniature mince pie, extracting the raisins.


  1. The kestrel's brown crown is more indicative that it is female than the tail, as immature males also have a barred brownish tail. I wouldn't know about juv-imm male transitions though. See for example (and how they could do that with ungloved hands, goodness only knows!) Jim, n.L.

    1. Many thanks for the information, and the link to some lovely pictures. I see what you mean about holding these furious birds -- I suppose they took a firm grip on the ankles and hoped for the best. But if a kestrel is your friend you are OK. See this picture of a female kestrel found injured in Kuwait and nursed back to a full recovery by volunteers (though perhaps their smiles are a bit tense).