Friday 9 September 2016

A quick trip round the park this morning found the eldest teenage Great Crested Grebe, hatched months before the others, which hadn't been seen for some time. It was fishing on the south shore of the Serpentine.

But it was a younger grebe that made a catch when I was there: a bundle of algae which, after some shaking, proved to contain a fish.

The female Little Owl was in the chestnut tree just uphill from the pair's nest tree.

A young Greylag Goose was chewing a bit of plastic rope in the Diana fountain.

This fine picture of a male Kestrel was taken yesterday in Kensington Gardens by Mike Meilack.

The Kestrel I saw a few days ago was female. I don't know whether they are a pair -- I've only seen Kestrels one at a time in the park.

Then I went on a trip to the RSPB reserve at Rainham Marshes. This is a very different style of birdwatching from my time in the park. Most of the birds are much more exciting, but they are also much farther away and most of the following pictures were taken at extreme range.

There were some Black-Tailed Godwits ...

... a Snipe ....

... some Lapwings ...

... a Little Egret, which I photographed by accident when looking at some other birds ...

... several Little Grebes in various places ...

... a female Teal ...

... and some Collared Doves, with curious blood-red eyes.

I met Tom, who is a volunteer at Rainham, and he took me for a walk along the Thames. We saw several Whimbrels ...

... some Oystercatchers, this one pulling a worm from the mud ...

... and a group of Dunlins, with another Oystercatcher.

There were plenty of raptors: a Marsh Harrier, a Sparrowhawk, a Buzzard, three Hobbies and this male Kestrel, which was the only one I could grab a hasty picture of.

Then we went up a low hill which had been a London rubbish dump, the highest point in the flat landscape. There we found a Wheatear which obligingly posed for us.

There was a group of seals -- Tom thought they were Common Seals -- lounging on the opposite bank of the river.

A buddleia bush was full of Red Admiral butterflies drinking nectar from the blossoms.


  1. Great Ralph, thank you for the pictures,
    Best wishes

  2. Despite its apparent lack of spectacular plumage, the utter charm of the Little Grebe makes it a firm favourite, among many lovely images.

    1. Also one of my favourites. Wish we had more in the park.

  3. Thank you for also showing the Rainham Marsh photos, even if distant, they are really nice. I have a soft spot for the lovely soft colored Wheatear. The variety of birds is wonderful to see.

    1. Also very fond of Wheatears. The Zorro mask is particularly pleasing.

  4. From what I remember, the main differentiation sign for British seals is a slight difference in the the angle of the nostrils…

    1. From were we were, they were hard to distinguish from bin liners. But Tom has seen them close up.