Friday 24 February 2017

The Great Crested Grebes which I photographed yesterday vainly trying to make a nest in choppy waves have actually succeeded now that the wind has dropped, and have built the usual hastily constructed mess just strong enough to stand on.

They were mating, but this was impossible to photograph as there was just one viewpoint through the branches.

We've had pictures of Coot fights before, but this odd-looking picture shows a Coot winning its fight by submerging its opponent.

A second afterwards, the loser surfaced and ran away.

A Moorhen was poking carefully at a leaf in the little pool at the top of the Dell waterfall. Closer inspection shows that it was picking little yellow grubs off it.

A pair of Mandarins turned up at Peter Pan when someone was feeding the ducks.

The others remained invisible in the bushes.

There was a gull feeding frenzy for chunks of bread on the Serpentine.

The Kingfisher was back on his favourite branch in the dead willow next to the Italian Garden.

A Long-Tailed Tit perched for a moment on the peculiar winged elm tree which is next to the willow, and equally dead.

It's not clear why these trees died, but it may have been damage to the roots when people were working on the place where the borehole feeds water into the Long Water.

All the Redwings were on the Parade Ground feeding under the trees and on the new turf in front of them.

There was also a Pied Wagtail.

A Goldcrest was singing in a tree near the Long Water, and made a brief appearance.

A Nuthatch was also singing in the leaf yard, and came down to take food from the railings.

The female Little Owl near the Albert Memorial was sunning herself.

And the one near the Henry Moore sculpture was obstinately staying on the shaded side of the branch.


  1. Ralph, I've been looking back at some of my old photos, and have found a picture of 5 Black Swans in St James's Park, dated 24 November 2014. I'd forgotten there used to be so many. There is still 1 in the park. I think that two of them are the pair which are now in Queen Mary's Gardens in Regent's Park. Of the other two, could one of them be our much-missed friend?

    1. I didn't know that there had been so many. One of them definitely died a year or so ago, and that left just one. But I would have expected all of these to have been captive pinioned birds. And if 'our' swan had been one of the St James's lot but able to fly, surely they'd have come and captured it and brought it back. 'Our' swan went to Regent's Park for a couple of days shortly after arriving here, returning of its own accord. Don't know what that signifies.

  2. Is it just a lighting illusion, or do you think that moorhen was transitioning from juvenile to adult plumage? Jim

    1. It's just the lighting, in a dark corner, corrected by the camera's automatic balance -- this picture has not been altered on the computer. Note the bright adult red of the bill. Some of the Moorhens on the Serpentine are not quite up to full adult appearance, but their bill is still dusky, and that is the last bit to change.

  3. Lovely photo of kingfisher.
    could you tell me exactly where you were standing to get such a good view? Is the branch where it sits to the left or right side of the longwater when Italian garden is behind you?

  4. Coots are evolving their fighting techniques. Scary thought.
    I actually like the Mandarin female's colouring better than the male's. She's elegant, he's gaudy.